09 février 2018

Hollywood Auction 89 - 06/2017 - Profiles In History


Lot 151: Marilyn Monroe (3) photographs
with secretarial autographs
and (1) unsigned vintage swimsuit still.
(ca. 1950s)
Collection of (3) vintage original gelatin silver double-weight matte 8 x 10 in. photographs all secretarially inscribed and signed in red ink on the image and in the borders, “Marilyn Monroe”. Also includes (1) vintage gelatin silver single-weight 8 x 10 in. cheesecake photograph of Monroe in a black lace swimsuit. 3-exhibiting even toning, minor edge wear and remain in very good to fine condition. 1-exhibits a repaired 1 in. tear to lower central border as well as edge creasing. In good condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $1,400

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Lot 152: Marilyn Monroe rare signed photograph. (TCF, 1952)
Vintage original gelatin silver 8 x 10 in. double-weight matte photograph by Frank Powolny depicting Marilyn in repose. From the publicity campaign for Monkey Business. Inscribed and signed in blue ink in lower left of image to a crewmember, “To Jack, It’s a pleasure to know you, Marilyn Monroe”. Exhibiting light even toning, and minor handling. In fine condition.
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000 / Winning bid: $12,500


Lot 415: Marilyn Monroe (45+) photographs by Avedon, Greene, Florea, Willoughby, and others. (1940s-1960s/printed later)
Collection of (45+) gelatin silver and RC color double-weight and single weight glossy and matte production photographs and portraits ranging in size from 8 x 8 in. to 16 x 20 in. Including images with Cary Grant, William Holden, Montgomery Clift and others,glamour portraits, candid shots of cast and crew, scene stills and character portraits. Some retaining photographer inkstamps and notation on the verso. Exhibiting age, minor wear, some toning, minor soiling and handling. In overall vintage very good to fine condition.
Estimate: $400 - $600 / Winning bid: $4,250

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Lot 444: Movie Star News archive (1 million++) Hollywood and entertainment photographs.
Massive archive of (1 million++) primarily gelatin silver 8 x 10 in. single- and double-weight glossy and matte photographs, as well as RC prints, color photos, color glos stills, and color mini lobby cards. A New York City institution for over 70 years, Movie Star News began life in 1938 as a used bookstore owned by siblings Irving and Paula Klaw. The business struggled until one day Irving noticed customers surreptitiously tearing pictures out of movie magazines. Sensing an opportunity, the Klaws began selling used film publicity photos. Demand was so high that Irving reached out to studio publicity departments directly for additional stock, and discovered that promotional materials were routinely discarded after the run of a film. He was able to acquire as many original photos as he wanted for next to nothing, and often, studio negatives, from which he started producing his own prints. The Klaws stopped selling books and started a mail order photo business in addition to the storefront operation, effectively establishing Hollywood and entertainment photography as a field of collecting. Comprising Movie Star News store stock as well as vintage source material, the breadth and scope of this resulting archive is likely unparalleled anywhere, featuring material on nearly every important star and movie in the history of American film production, from pre-Hollywood silent film period through the Golden Age, New Hollywood, the blockbuster era, and beyond. Every category, genre, and subgenre is represented, including drama, comedy, action, adventure, romance, pre-code, crime, film noir, sci-fi, horror (Universal, Hammer, and more), war, western, pin-up, cheesecake, beefcake, exploitation, sexploitation, Blaxploitation, etc. Additionally featuring television, music, stage, and adult subjects, the archive contains a near-complete narrative of American pop culture throughout the 20th century. Today, it would be virtually impossible to build a collection of entertainment material this comprehensive from scratch and prohibitively expensive to create at this level of quality—the cost of photo paper alone would run well over $1,000,000. The archive consists of roughly 40% vintage original material, the remainder primarily composed of high quality Movie Star News gelatin silver dark room prints, many made from the original negatives that Klaw acquired directly from the studios. Including actresses and female entertainers: Paula Abdul, Julie Adams, Rene Adoree, Gracie Allen, June Allyson, Judith Anderson, Mary Andrewson, The Andrews Sisters, Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Even Arden, Jean Arthur, Mary Astor, Lauren Bacall, Carrol Baker, Josephine Baker, Lucille Ball, Anne Bancroft, Talullah Bankhead, Vilma Banky, Brigette Bardot, Theda Bara, Lynne Bari, Ethel Barrymore, Anne Baxter, Constance Bennett, Joan Bennett, Ingrid Bergman, Linda Blair, Joan Blondell, Ann Blythe, Jacqueline Bisset, Clara Bow, Alice Brady, Mary Brian, Fannie Brice, Louise Brooks, Virginia Bruce, Carol Burnett, Mary Carlisle, Madeleine Carroll, Irene Castle, Joan Caulfield, Helen Chandler, Carol Channing, Marguerite Chapman, Cyd Cherise, Claudette Colbert, Jeanne Crane, Joan Crawford, Fifi D’Orsay, Arlene Dahl, Lili Damita, Dorothy Dandridge, Bebe Daniels, Linda Darnell, Marion Davies, Bette Davis, Doris Day, Yvonne DeCarlo, Francis Dee, Sandra Dee, Gloria DeHaven, Olivia DeHavilland, Dolores Del Rio, Myrna Dell, Catherine Deneuve, Sandy Dennis, Bo Derek, Marlene Dietrch, Faith Domergue, Carol Donell, Billie Dove, Betsy Drake, Faye Dunaway, Irene Dunne, Deanna Durbin, Ann Dvorak, Jeanne Eagles, Barbara Eden, Anita Ekberg, Dale Evans, Francis Farmer, Alice Faye, Rhonda Fleming, Bridget Fonda, Jane Fonda, Joan Fontaine, Anne Francis, Kay Francis, Mona Freeman, Anette Funicello, Eva Gabor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Terri Garr, Greer Garson, Janet Gaynor, Lillian Gish, Paulette Goddard, Betty Grable, Gloria Grahame, Katharyn Grayson, Jane Greer, Virginia Grey Corinne Griffith, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Ann Harding, Jean Harlow, June Havoc, Goldie Hawn, Helen Hayes, Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Billie Holliday, Miriam Hopkins, Lena Horne, Ruth Hussey, Angelica Huston, Betty Hutton, Janet Jackson, Gloria Jean, Zita Johann, Olivia Newton John, Grace Jones, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Jones, Janis Joplin, Ruby Keeler, Grace Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Phyllis Kirk, Eartha Kitt, Laura La Plante, Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Lamour, Elsa Lancaster, Carol Landis, Priscilla Lane, Francis Langford, Angela Lansbury, Piper Laurie, Lila Lee, Peggy Lee, Janet Leigh, Vivien Leigh, Joan Leslie, Gina Lollabrigida, Carole Lombard, Bessie Love, Myrna Loy, Ida Lupino, Jeanette MacDonald, Ali MacGraw, Shirley MacLane, Anna Magnani, Jayne Mansfield, Ann Margret, Marilyn Maxwell, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy McGuire, Fay McKenzie, Una Merkel, Ethel Merman, Vera Miles, Ann Miller, Liza Minnelli, Mary Miles Minter, Carmen Miranda, Marilyn Monroe, Maria Montez, Coleen Moore, Mae Murray, Pola Negri, Kim Novak, Maureen O’Hara, Maureen O’Sullivan, Merle Oberon, Anita Page, Gail Patrick, Mary Pickford, Eleanor Powell, Luise Rainer, Sally Rand, Vanessa Redgrave, Donna Reed, Lee Remick, Debbie Reynolds, Ann Richards, Ginger Rogers, Diana Ross, Lillian Roth, Gail Russell, Jane Russell, Rosalind Russell, Ann Rutherford, Winona Ryder, Lizabeth Scott, Norma Shearer, Ann Sheridan, Dinah Shore, Sylvia Sidney, Jean Simmons, Alexis Smith, Barbara Stanwyck, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, Emma Thompson, Gene Tierney, Thelma Todd, Claire Trevor, Kathleen Turner, Lana Turner, Twiggy, Mamie Van Doren, Lupe Velez, Martha Vickers, Rachel Ward, Tuesday Weld, Mae West, Marie Windsor, Debra Winger, Shelley Winters, Jane Withers, Anna May Wong, Natalie Wood, Fay Wray, Teresa Wright, Jane Wyman, Loretta Young, and many, many more. Actors and male entertainers: Amos & Andy, Dana Andrews, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Louis Armstrong, Desi Arnaz, Fred Astaire, Lex Barker, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, The Beatles, Warren Beatty, Wallace Beery, Harry Belafonte, John Belushi, Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen, Charles Bickford, Humphrey Bogart, David Bowie, Charles Boyer, Marlon Brando, Charles Bronson, Mel Brooks, Yul Brynner, James Cagney, Eddie Cantor, Johnny Cash, John Cassavettes, Lon Chaney, Sr., Charlie Chaplin, Montgomery Clift, Nat King Cole, Ronald Colman, Sean Connery, Gary Cooper, Jackie Cooper, Ricardo Cortez, Joseph Cotten, Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Dead End Kids, James Dean, Robert DeNiro, Walt Disney, Kirk Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Duke Ellington, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. & Jr., Jose Ferrer, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Harrison Ford, Clark Gable, John Garfield, James Garner, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Benny Goodman, Cary Grant, Alec Guinness, Gene Hackman, Tom Hanks, Rondo Hatton, Sterling Hayden, Charlton Heston, Alfred Hitchcock, Dustin Hoffman, William Holden, Bob Hope, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, William Hurt, The “James Bond” franchise, Van Johnson, Al Jolson, Boris Karloff, Buster Keaton, Gene Kelly, Alan Ladd, Burt Lancaster, Harry Langdon, Charles Laughton, Laurel & Hardy, Bruce Lee, Christopher Lee, Jack Lemon, Jerry Lewis, Harold Lloyd, Peter Lorre, Dean Martin, Lee Marvin, the Marx Brothers, James Mason, Victor Mature, Joel McCrea, Roddy McDowell, Steve McQueen, Ray Milland, Sal Mineo, Robert Mitchum, Robert Montgomery, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Ricky Nelson, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, David Niven, Chuck Norris, Peter O’Toole, Warner Oland, Laurence Olivier, Al Pacino, Jack Palance, Gregory Peck, Tyrone Power, Elvis Presely, Vincent Price, John Wayne, Johnny Weissmuller, Orson Welles, Bruce Willis, and many, many more. Movies: The African Queen, All Quiet on the Western Front, American Graffiti, Anatomy of a Murder, Animal House, the Back to the Future franchise, Beau Geste, Bell, Book and Candle, The Big Heat, The Birds, The Blue Dahlia, Blue Velvet, Bonnie and Clyde, Born Yesterday, Brigadoon, Cabin in the Sky, Captain’s Courageous, Casablanca, the “James Bond” franchise, Cat People, the “Charlie Chan” franchise, Citizen Kane, Cover Girl, Dance, Fools, Dance, Dark Victory, Dead End, Dial M for Murder, Doctor Strangelove, Dracula, Duel in the Sun, Easy Rider, El Dorado, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Foreign Correspondent, Forsaking All Others, Frankenstein, From Here to Eternity, Full Metal Jacket, Funny Girl, Ghostbusters, Gigi, Gone With the Wind, Grand Illusion, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Escape, Halloween, High Society, His Girl Friday, Holiday, The Horror of Dracula, Human Desire, Humoresque, I Wanted Wings, Imitation of Life, Inside Daisy Clover, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jaws, Jezebel, The Killers, The King and I, The Lady Eve, The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, Macao, Marked Woman, The Most Dangerous Game, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mrs. Miniver, Murder, My Sweet, My Darling Clementine, My Man Godfrey, Night of the Hunter, North by Northwest, Notorious, Passage to Marseilles, Paths of Glory, Persona, Picnic, Planet of the Apes, Porgy and Bess, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Prisoner of Zenda, Psycho, Quo Vadis, Random Harvest, Rear Window, Rebecca, Rio Bravo, Robocop, Rope, Sabotage, The Set-Up, Seven Samurai, She!, Showboat, Spellbound, Stagecoach, The Stranger, Sullivan’s Travels, Suspicion, the “Tarzan” franchise, Test Pilot, That Certain Woman, The Three Musketeers, To Catch a Thief, To Have and Have Not, Today We Live, Too Hot to Handle, The Untouchables, Valley of the Dolls, Vertigo, Vivacious Lady, Westside Story, White Christmas, Woman of the Year, The Women, Wuthering Heights, Young Mr. Lincoln, Zoo in Budapest, and many, many more. Includes duplicate images.Condition ranges widely, with the majority ranging from very good to very fine. The archive is housed in approx. (140) 4- and 5-drawer metal filing cabinets, measuring on average 22 x 28 x 53 in. This is a historic opportunity to own one of the most legendary and consequential collections of Hollywood and entertainment photographic material ever assembled. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to preview the lot in person by appointment.
Estimate: $220,000 - $350,000 / Winning bid: ?

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Lot 868: Marilyn Monroe (3) nude calendar first-release variation collection. (ca. 1940s)
Vintage original (3) iconic Tom Kelly’s legendary Golden Dreams nude calendar print, shot in 1949 when Marilyn was between studio contracts, and not published until at least 1952 for the following year. Including (1) 9 x 13 in. stapled print with advertising headboard present and 4-other prints of various models beneath Marilyn’s, (1) 8 x 9.5 in. print (presumed removed from a complete calendar) and (1) 12 x 16.5 in. print with creased headboard section. All in vintage very good to fine condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $850

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Lot 872: Marilyn Monroe door panel poster. (ca. 1950s)
Vintage original rolled 62 x 21.5 in. panel door poster of Marilyn Monroe in a candy-striped bathing suit. Linen backed. Exhibiting light even fading and a slice to the upper 2 in. of the blank border, not affecting image. In vintage very good to fine condition.
Estimate: $600 - $800 / Winning bid: $3,250

Lot 878: Marilyn Monroe unpublished behind the scenes color camera transparency from Niagara by Frank Worth.
(TCF, 1953) Vintage original 2.5 x 2.5 in. camera color transparency of Marilyn Monroe in costume as “Rose Loomis” in an unpublished image of the Hollywood icon posing in front of a helicopter behind the scenes of Niagara. Photographed by Frank Worth. In vintage fine condition.
Estimate: $200 - $300 / Winning bid: $350 


Lot 879: Marilyn Monroe (3) contact sheet strips with 9-portraits by Milton Greene from his personal collection.
(ca. 1950s) Vintage original (9) gelatin silver single-weight glossy 2.5 x 2.25 in. photographs on 3-contact sheet prints measuring approx. 2.25 x 8 in. and with 3-frames per strip. Featuring outdoor portraits of Marilyn Monroe taken by her close friend and legendary photographer Milton Greene. Unevenly trimmed at top and bottom of strips. Exhibiting age, minor wear and some handling. From the personal collection of Milton Greene. In overall very good to fine condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $600

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Lot 885: Marilyn Monroe (3) candid photographs with Tony Curtis, Milton Greene and others.
(ca. 1960s) Vintage original (3) gelatin silver single-weight photos including (1) 8 x 10 in. Marilyn with DJ Fred Robbins and Joe Bynes, (1) 8 x 10 in. Marilyn with Milton Greene and others at Jess Rand's 1954 birthday party and (1) 4.5 x 6.5 in. Marilyn with Tony Curtis and others. Exhibiting some edge chipping, age, handling. With some mounting residue, inkstamps and writing to verso. In vintage very good to fine condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $300

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Lot 886: Marilyn Monroe (3) candid photographs with Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Curtis, Milton Greene and more.
(ca. 1960s) Vintage original (3) gelatin silver single-weight photos including (1) 4.5 x 6.5 in. Marilyn with Tony Curtis and Milton Greene wearing eye patches in solidarity with Sammy Davis Jr. who’d lost his eye in a car accident, (1) 8 x 10 in. Marilyn with Milton Greene and Sammy Davis Jr. at Jess Rand's 1954 birthday party and (1) 8 x 10 in. photo card of Marilyn with Sammy Davis Jr. and Eddie Fisher. Exhibiting some edge chipping, age, handling. With some mounting residue, inkstamps and writing to verso. In vintage good to fine condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $300 

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Lot 888: Marilyn Monroe (10) mammoth prints signed by George Barris.
(ca. 1950s-1960s) Collection of (10) contemporary oversize posed and candid photographs of Monroe ranging in size from 17 x 22.25 in. to 21 x 28 in. Including (2) color images 1-of Monroe wearing a robe at the beach and 1-head shot and (8) black and white prints including 7-in and around a home and 1-at the beach. All signed in lower right of images, “George Barris” (Barris first signed in ballpoint over which he later signed in marking pen). Exhibiting minor wrinkling from handling. In generally fine condition.
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500 / Winning bid: $1,900
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Lot 889: Bert Stern signed Marilyn Monroe limited edition foil print.
(1962) Vintage original blue ink silkscreen on 40 x 40 in. silver foil limited edition print. The image is from Marilyn Monroe’s last photographic sitting in 1962. Signed by the photographer, “Bert Stern” in the lower right border and numbered, “99/100” in the lower left. Presented in the original fame. In vintage fine condition.
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000 / Winning bid: $2,000


Lot 876: Marilyn Monroe (2) window cards from How to Marry a Millionaire and Niagara. (TCF, 1953)
Vintage original (2) window cards for the Marilyn Monroe titles including (1) 14 x 22 in. card for How to Marry a Millionaire featuring Marilyn in swimsuit with Betty Hutton and Lauren Bacall. With playdate field filled in and some toning to edges and including (1) 14 x 22 in. card for Niagara featuring a sultry Monroe reclining and a photo image of she and Joseph Cotten. With blank playdate field, some clean pinholes to corners, and even toning. In generally very good to fine condition.
Estimate: $400 - $600 / Winning bid: $500
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Lot 877: Marilyn Monroe (41) negatives from Bus Stop. (TCF, 1956)
Vintage original (41) 5 x 4 in. black and white negatives with matching contact prints, including images from production with Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O’Connell, Eileen Heckart and cast, behind the scenes shots, crowd scenes, and images of Monroe in her iconic green costume performing. Contained in original sleeves. Some contact prints with editorial grease pencil cropping for publication. In generally fine vintage condition.
Estimate: $600 - $800 / Winning bid: $7,000
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Lot 880: Marilyn Monroe rolled German A0 large size format poster for The Seven-Year Itch.
Marilyn Monroe rolled German A0 large size format poster for The Seven-Year Itch. (TCF, 1955/R-1960) Vintage original German A0 46 x 33 in. large size format poster by graphic artist, stamp illustrator and art educator Dorothea Fischer-Nosbisch for the re-release of the Billy Wilder, Marilyn Monroe comedy. Rolled. With vibrant color. In vintage fine condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $750


Lot 881: Marilyn Monroe (11) production photographs from The Seven Year Itch and How to Marry a Millionaire.
 (MGM, 1953/1955) Vintage original (11) gelatin silver single-weight glossy 8 x 10 in. production photographs featuring Marilyn Monroe and cast including (5) How to Marry a Millionaire and (6) The Seven Year Itch. All with studio slugs in lower borders. Exhibiting age, minor wear, some toning, creasing and handling. In overall vintage good to very good condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $600
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Lot 882: Marilyn Monroe (5) photographs from The Seven-Year Itch and others.
(TCF, 1955) Vintage original gelatin silver single-weight production photographs ranging in size from 7.25 x 8 in. to 8 x 10 in. including (3) Seven-Year Itch with Marilyn and Tom Ewell mugging on a couch (1-with two-hole punches at the top border), (1) full-body swimsuit pose and (1) portrait in a jeweled satin gown near a car. All exhibit minor age and handling. In vintage fine condition.
Estimate: $200 - $300 / Winning bid: $650
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Lot 883: Marilyn Monroe lobby card for Dangerous Years, her first appearance in film publicity material.
(TCF, 1948) Vintage original color 11 x 14 in. lobby card for the first film in which Marilyn appeared in publicity material. Exhibiting pinholes, border restoration, and retouching to a vertical crease through the center of the card and a crease in the lower right image. Presents in vintage good to very good condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $300

Lot 884. Marilyn Monroe and Anne Baxter photograph behind the scenes on All About Eve by Frank Powolny.
(TCF, 1950) Vintage original gelatin silver 8 x 10 in. double-weight matte photograph. Retaining photographer’s inkstamp on the verso. Exceedingly rare early candid moment for Marilyn. In vintage very fine condition.
Estimate: $400 - $600 / Winning bid: $650

Lot 890: Warner Bros. commemorative brass key to the studio. (ca. 1960s)
Consisting of a cast brass 11 x 4 in. presentation key to Warner Bros. Studios. The shield-shaped bow of the key features raised iconic “WB” letters synonymous with the studio. The key blade reads, in raised letters, “The Largest in the World” on one side and “Welcome to the Warner Bros Studio”, on the other. Keys like this one were presented to special guests, celebrities, and dignitaries visiting the studio. Exhibiting expected age, wear and patina. In vintage fine condition.
Estimate: $600 - $800 / Winning bid: $1,900  

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Documents papiers

lot 869: Marilyn Monroe’s (Norma Jeane Dougherty) first signed studio contract with Twentieth Century-Fox with original screen test request signed by Ben Lyon.
The contract is 17 pages (8.5 x 11 in.), entitled “Agreement Between Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation And Norma Jeane Dougherty – Artist August 24, 1946” typed on the heavy stock contract folder bound with two brass brads. The document is an agreement, “That the producer employs the artist, and the artist enters the employ of the producer, to render his services exclusively to the producer, in the capacities and for the purposes herein described, for a term of Six (6) Months, commencing on the 26th day of August, 1946… the producer shall pay to the artist, as his entire compensation hereunder, the sum of One Hundred and Twenty-Five Dollars ($125.00) per week during the term of said employment…” On page 16, the future Marilyn Monroe signed in black ink, “Norma Jeane Dougherty” and was co-signed by a studio executive an a notary public. The final page was signed by Norma Jeane’s foster mother, Grace McKee, granting approval of the agreement for the 20-year-old minor. Accompanying the contract is the 1-page inter-office document, dated July 25, 1946, signed by Twentieth Century Fox executive (and former actor) Ben Lyon, written to Mr. George Wasson, stating in part: “Will you please draw up an optional contract on Norma Jeane Dougherty. We agree to make a test of her and then within ten (10) days after she completes the test, we agree to advise her whether or not we intend to exercise the option: 6 months – 20 out of 26 weeks -- $150.00.” Ben Lyon was a successful actor starring in the 1930 film Hell’s Angels, the film that brought Jean Harlow to prominence. After having met the young Norma Jeane on July 17, 1946, Lyon stated that she was “Jean Harlow all over again!” With this document, he arranged for Norma Jeane’s screen test and her subsequent contract with the studio. Lyon later advised the starlet to change her screen name to “Marilyn Monroe”. Also included is a carbon copy studio memo to Ben Lyon from George Wasson, dated October 25, 1946, stating that “Today is the last day for us to notify Norma Jeane Dougherty in the event we desire her to have any dental work done.” Contract is in fine condition; both the Lyon and dental memos have paper loss from the two-hole binder. An historic assemblage marking the genesis of the silver screen’s greatest star.
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000 / Winning bid: $35,500
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lot 870: Marilyn Monroe personally hand annotated script from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. (TCF, 1953)
Marilyn Monroe’s personally-used and annotated script from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. An incomplete script, being a block of revisions delivered by the production to Marilyn Monroe comprising 69 pages total (numbered 48 through 117, missing page 93) plus a pink title cover-sheet printed “26 November 1952, ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (Revised Final Script…13 Nov. 1952),” plus “TO ALL SECRETARIES: Please place these ADDITIONAL PAGES at the back of your script of the above date. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Majority of the prompts for Marilyn’s character “Lorelei Lee” are circled variously in graphite and non-repro blue pencil, with approximately 22-pages annotated in various inks and pencil in Monroe’s hand with amendments and additions to the script and notes on how she proposes to deliver lines and portray Lorelei’s character, with several other pages showing line deletions and other demarcations. Highlights of notes include: pg. 56, when Lord Beekman finds Lorelei stuck in Malone’s porthole, next to Lorelei’s line “Oh yes--Tea with Lady Beekman. Why, she must of forgot. She didn’t show up,” with Monroe adding an alternative line, “Well, I just wanted to see the view. It’s better from here”; pg. 58, Monroe changes the line “Piggie, will you run down to my cabin and get my purse?” to “Maybe I should have that Sherry - will you get me some”; pg. 79, Monroe has written a note to herself in the margin “Feeling that feeds the words, know the lines, go over it inteligently [sic]”; pg. 92, also to herself, “sense the feeling with the body” plus several dialogue changes; pg. 94, again to herself, “grit my teeth and forget it must have my,” “all of feeling in my words,” and “build pull back, don’t stop mutual conflict between partners.” Also, the following page (95) although bearing no notations, features the scene for Monroe’s classic musical number “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” In generally very good condition, with expected handling wear, soiling, and creasing, and some small edge tears and damp-staining to cover page and a few internal margins throughout. Marilyn’s unique, revealing personal notations in this script reveal her private thought processes and fleeting self confidence. On set, she was haunted by her controlling acting coach Natasha Lytess, constantly striving for her approval and insisting on retakes even when director Howard Hawks had already approved. Co-star Jane Russell looked after Marilyn on set and was often one of the only people able to coax her out of her trailer during her bouts of self doubt. Despite her anxieties, it was the role of Lorelei Lee that first fabricated her ‘dumb blonde’ persona—a genius mixture of comedy and sexiness which Marilyn personified on screen, all the while taking her acting very seriously, as evidenced by her occasional heartfelt self-motivational notes in the margins. Monroe biographer Donald Spoto once said: “She put a twist on sexiness. It was not something wicked and shameful...it was something which was terribly funny. And Marilyn enjoyed it.” A remarkable and deeply personal artifact both from Marilyn’s aura imbued within it, and of Hollywood history in general.
Provenance: Christies, New York, June 22, 2006, Lot 160.
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000 / Winning bid: $20,000
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2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot870h 2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot870i 2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot870j 
2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot870k 2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot870l 

Lot 871: Marilyn Monroe signed document relating to The Seven Year Itch. (TCF, 1955)
The 1-page document (8.5 x 11 in.), dated and notarized from the State of New York on December 31, 1955, states in part: “I, Marilyn Monroe of New York, New York… for valuable consideration to me in hand paid and the receipt whereof I hereby acknowledge, have and do hereby and herewith release and forever discharge Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation… of and from all manner of action and actions, cause and causes of action, claims, demands… that I have ever had… pertaining to the production, distribution, exploitation or other matters or things relating to a certain motion picture photoplay entitled THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH.” Signed “Marilyn Monroe” in black ink. Minor staple holes on left margin. Overall, in fine condition.
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000 / Winning bid: $3,750

 Lot 873: (2) Marilyn Monroe signed documents and a block of (3) blank Marilyn Monroe checks.
A 1-page document (8.5 x 11 in.), undated, but retains “Received” stamp dated February 6, 1947. Sent by Marilyn to 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation to the attention of the legal department. In part: “This is to notify you that I am no longer being represented by the National Concert & Artists Corporation… I am now being represented by the Elsie Cukor Lipton Agency…[signed] Marilyn Monroe”. Contains clerical notes in both pencil and ink. Toning at lower half with tearing by two binder holes.
The second document is the second page of a two-page document (page one is missing), dated January 16, 1952 involving Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation and RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., pertaining to advertisement release for Marilyn Monroe in promoting “Jantzen Play Suites, Play Clothes and Swim Suits”. Signed “Marilyn Monroe” in blue ink, and co-signed by a Twentieth Century-Fox representative. Staple holes at top, pronounced wrinkling and a 3.75 x 1.25 in. portion clipped from the document.
Included with the documents is a block of (3) unused “Marilyn Monroe” printed checks from her City National Bank, Beverly Hills branch (checks numbered 1950 – 1952). Checks and attached stubs are in fine condition.
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500 / Winning bid: $3,750
2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot873a  2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot873b 

Lot 874: Marilyn Monroe signed advertising release for House of Westmore Cosmetics.
The 1-page document (8.5 x 13.5 in.), dated July 3, 1952 from Los Angeles, California, states in part: “The undersigned, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, a New York corporation, hereby gives and grants to House of Westmore, the non-exclusive right to utilize the name and likeness of Marilyn Monroe… Said name and/or likeness shall be used only by House of Westmore in connection with its product Cosmetics in the following manner: Newspapers, magazines, window and counter displays, point of sale material.” Signed “Marilyn Monroe” in black ink, and co-signed by representatives of Twentieth Century-Fox and House of Westmore. Minor paper loss from the binder at upper edge; minor chip at bottom edge not affecting signature.
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000 / Winning bid: $4,250

Lot 875: Studio letter warning Marilyn Monroe of her breach of contract for taking off shooting days to participate in President Kennedy’s Birthday Celebration. (1962)
Vintage original 2-page letter on Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation letterhead, dated May 16, 1962, addressed to Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc. In part: “…the services of Miss Marilyn Monroe in the now current employment period commenced on March 6, 1962 in the motion picture tentatively entitled ‘Something’s Gotta Give’… Whereas said motion picture is now in the process of principal photography and is uncompleted… Miss Monroe has advised the executives of the undersigned corporation… that she intends to absent herself from Producer’s studio and from Los Angeles, California, at twelve noon, May 17, 1962, for the purpose of attending a social function being held outside of the State of California, and to continue said absence for the reminder of the said calendar week… Now, therefore, please be advised that said announced action on the part of Miss Monroe constitutes a refusal by her to render services… said action of Miss Monroe will result in serious loss and material damage to the undersigned corporation… [the studio may] be relieved of any of its obligations in respect to the photoplay in which Miss Monroe is now rendering…” Signed “Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation” by Frank H. Ferguson, its Assistant Secretary. Included with original registered mail transmittal envelope, postmarked May 16, 1962, with attached studio slip with stamp indicating return date of May 17, 1962 with notation that the letter was refused and returned. Before shooting had begun, Monroe received approval from producer Henry Weinstein for her to perform on May 19th for President Kennedy’s birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden. Despite the agreement, Marilyn’s protracted health issues had delayed production and studio brass ultimately decided to release her from the picture on June 8th.
Estimate: $400 - $600 / Winning bid: $3,750
2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot875a  2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot875b  2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot875c 

Lot 887: Let's Make Love 22-pages of original sheet music for the LP record release.
(TCF, 1960) Vintage original (22) pages of musical charts including (1) 5-page printed 9.5 x 13 in. Conductor score for, “Let’s Make Love” designated for “Marilyn Monroe and Frankie Vaughan”, (1) 4-page handwritten 10.75 x 13.25 in. score for, “Let’s Make Love”, (1) 6-page printed 9.5 x 13 in. Conductor score for, “You With the Crazy Eyes” designated for “Frankie Vaughan (Vocal)” and (1) 7-page handwritten 10.75 x 13.25 in. score for “You With the Crazy Eyes” score. All exhibit edge toning, handling, minor soiling and staining. In vintage very good condition.
Estimate: $300 - $500 / Winning bid: $325
2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot887a  2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot887f 
2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot887b  2017-06-26-Hollywood_auction_89-PROFILES-lot887c   


 Lot 1942: Loni Anderson vintage “MM” evening gloves gifted to her by Burt Reynolds as the personal property of Marilyn Monroe.
(ca. 1950s) Vintage original pair of elegant midnight blue synthetic silk evening gloves with stitched braid detail at back and stitched monogram, “MM” on underside of flared, slit cuffs. Retaining internal Hansen maker’s label, printed size 6. Gifted to Loni Anderson by Burt Reynolds who attributed them to Marilyn Monroe, an idol of Anderson’s. In vintage fine condition.
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500 / Winning bid: $9,500

17 septembre 2013

Tests costumes et coiffures pour The Seven Year Itch

 Sept ans de réflexion

Tests Costumes, Coiffures et Maquillag

  Les screen tests de Marilyn Monroe dans le rôle de 'La voisine'
et les esquisses du costumier Billy Travilla

 prises de vues le 25 août 1954

-> en peignoir
syi_test_1954_08_25_robe_1_1 syi_test_1954_08_25_robe_1_1a 

prises de vues le 26 août 1954

-> Ensemble veste - pantalon rose (Jax)
syi_test_film_7yi_pink_costume syi_test_lot64374 syi_test_lot64375

-> Ensemble débardeur - short blanc

prises de vues le 28 août 1954

-> robe moulante brodée
 syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_1_1 syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_1_1b

-> robe moulante à pois
 syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_2_1 syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_2_1a 

-> robe blanche plissée
syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_sketch syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_1 syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_1a 

1954-08-28-test_costume-TSYI-mm-03-1a   1954-08-28-test_costume-TSYI-mm-03-2 
syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_1b syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2
syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2a syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2b syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2c syi_sc11_dress_Copy_of_itch_1_
syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2d syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2e syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2f syi_test_1954_08_28_dress_3_2g 

-> nuisette en satin

prises de vues le 13 septembre 1954

-> en peignoir 
syi_test_1954_09_13_robe_1_1 syi_test_1954_09_13_robe_1_1a 

prises de vues le 26 octobre 1954

-> nuisette en coton


prises de vues non datées 

-> Scène vamp robe 'Lily Tiger'

-> Scène robe blanche

-> Combinaison pantalon et cape rose
syi_test_sc09_dress_2 syi_test_sc09_dress_1

- Tenues portées et coupées au montage -

> scène Vamp Mae West
- avec Ben Lyon, cadre à la Fox:
syi_sc_cut_test_with_ben_lyon_1 syi_sc_cut_test_with_ben_lyon_1a syi_sc_cut_test_with_ben_lyon_2
- avec Tom Ewell
syi_sc_cut_test_with_ben_lyon_3 syi_sc_cut_test_with_tom_ewell_1 syi_sc_cut_test_with_tom_ewell_1a

- Tenues non retenues pour le film -

prises de vues le 21 octobre 1954
-> en peignoir satin

- Autres acteurs / actrices -


© All images are copyright and protected by their respective owners, assignees or others.
copyright text by GinieLand. 

25 avril 2013

1960 - Interview de Marilyn par Georges Belmont

1960-10-Georges_Belmont-interview-Marie_Claire-1  C'est par l'intermédiaire de Ruppert Allan, chargé de la promotion de Marilyn, qu'eut lieu en 1960 la grande interview entre Marilyn Monroe et Georges Belmont. Ce dernier était alors rédacteur en chef de la revue Marie-Claire, qui publiera l'interview dans le numéro 72 du mois d' octobre 1960. L'interview se déroula pendant le tournage du film Let's Make Love (Le milliardaire) qui connut un succès particulier en France en raison de l'interprétation d'Yves Montand.
Georges Belmont réussit bientôt à gagner la confiance de Marilyn. Il faut dire qu'il lui avait promis de mettre à sa disposition une transcription de l'interview et en outre de s'en tenir rigoureusement dans le texte écrit à la formulation orale de ses propos. La base était donc bonne. Tous ceux qui, par la suite, prirent connaissance de cet entretien, durent reconnaître avec étonnement qu'ils n'avaient jamais entendu Marilyn parler d'elle-même avec tant de naturel.
Voilà comment Georges Belmont dépeint l'ambiance : "Je la laissais parler. La seule pression dont j'usais était le silence. Quand elle s'arrêtait de parler, je ne disais rien et, au bout du silence, quand elle n'en pouvait plus, ce qui venait alors était souvent capital et terriblement émouvant presque toujours."

Marilyn Monroe: J'aimerais mieux répondre à des questions. Je ne sais pas raconter, c'est terrible... par ou commencer? Comment? Il y a tant de ramifications...

Georges Belmont: Tout de même, il y a eu un commencement : votre enfance.

Marilyn Monroe: Même cela, personne n'en saurait rien, sans un pur hasard.
Longtemps, mon passé, ma vie sont restés totalement inconnus. Jamais je n'en parlais. Sans raison particulière. Simplement, je trouvais que c'etait mon affaire et pas celle des autres. Puis un jour, un M. Lester Cowan a voulu me mettre dans un film avec Groucho Marx, 'Love Happy'. J'avais déjà été sous contrat avec la Fox et la Columbia, à l'époque, mais saquée... C'était un petit rôle qu'il m'offrait, ce M. Cowan, mais il tenait à m'avoir sous contrat. Donc, il téléphone. J'etais encore très jeune et il me dit qu'il voulait parler à mon père et à ma mère. Je lui dis : "Impossible." - "Pourquoi?" insiste-t-il. Je lui ai expliqué alors brièvement la chose : "Je n'ai jamais vécu avec eux." C'était la vérité et je ne vois toujours pas ce que cela avait de sensationnel. Mais il téléphona à la chroniqueuse Louella Parsons et lui raconta toute l'histoire. Cela parut dans la "colonne" de Louella. C'est comme ça que tout a commencé. Depuis, on a débité tant de choses fausses que, mon Dieu, oui, pourquoi ne pas dire la vérité maintenant?

Georges Belmont: Quelles sont les premières images de vous, enfant, que vous gardiez?

Marilyn Monroe (long silence) : Mon premier souvenir?... C'est un souvenir de lutte pour la vie. J'etais toute petite... un bébé dans un petit lit, oui, et je luttais pour ma vie. Mais j'aimerais mieux ne pas en parler, si cela vous est égal : c'est une chose cruelle qui ne regarde que moi et personne d'autre, comme je disais. Ensuite, aussi loin que je remonte, je me revois dans une poussette, en longue robe blanche, sur le trottoir de la maison ou je vivais dans une famille qui n'était pas la mienne. C'est un fait que je suis une enfant naturelle. Mais tout ce que l'on a dit de mon père, ou de mes pères, est faux. Le premier mari de ma mère s'appellait Baker. Le second, Mortenson. Mais elle avait depuis longtemps divorcé d'avec les deux quand je suis née. On a raconté que mon père était norvégien, sans doute à cause du nom Mortenson, et qu'il était mort dans un accident de moto, peu après ma naissance. J'ignore si c'est vrai de Mortenson, n'ayant jamais eu de lien de parenté avec lui. Quant à l'indentité de mon vrai père, là encore, si vous le voulez bien, je vous prierai de ne pas m'interroger ; cela n'intéresse que moi. Cependant, il y a deux faits qui peuvent expliquer certaines... confusions. D'abord, on m'a toujours dit dans ma petite enfance que mon père s'était tué dans un accident d'automobile à New York, avant ma naissance. Ensuite, curieusement, mon bulletin de naissance porte, en réponse à une mention "Profession", le mot Baker, qui était le nom du premier mari de ma mère, mais qui veut dire aussi "boulanger". Quand je suis née, enfant naturelle ainsi que je l'ai dit, ma mère devait me donner un nom. Mon sentiment est que, forcée de penser vite, elle donna : "Baker". Pure coincidence, puis confusion de la part de l'officier d'état civil... C'est du moins ce que je pense.

Georges Belmont: Votre mère... J'ai lu quelque part que, pour vous, elle n'était que "la femme aux cheveux roux"?

Marilyn Monroe: Je n'ai jamais vécu avec ma mère. On a dit le contraire, mais cela seul est vrai. Aussi loin que je remonte dans mes souvenirs, j'ai toujours vécu en pension chez des gens. Ma mère avait des... troubles mentaux. Elle est morte maintenant. Mes grands-parents maternels sont morts tous les deux fous, enfermés. Ma mère, aussi, il fallut l'interner. Elle sortait parfois, et puis elle... rechutait. Alors, vous savez comme c'est... toute petite, je disais en montrant la première femme venue : "Oh! une maman!", et le premier homme : "Oh! un papa!". Mais un matin, je devais avoir trois ans, pas plus, on me baignait et je dis "maman" à la femme qui s'occupait de moi à l'époque. Elle me répondit : "Je ne suis pas ta maman. Appelle-moi 'tante'." - "Mais lui est mon papa?" dis-je ne montrant son mari. - "Non", me dit-elle. "Nous ne sommes pas tes parents. Celle qui vient te voir de temps en temps, la femme aux cheveux roux, celle-là est ta maman." Ce fut un choc d'apprendre cela, mais comme elle venait très rarement, c'est vrai que, pour moi, elle resta surtout "la femme aux cheveux roux". Tout de même, j'essayais qu'elle existait. Seulement, plus tard, quand on me mit dans un orphelinat, j'ai eu un autre choc. Je savais lire, alors. Quand j'ai lu "orphelinat" en lettres d'or sur fond noir, il a fallu me traîner, je hurlais : "Je ne suis pas une orpheline! J'ai une maman!" Mais par la suite, j'ai fini par penser : "Il faut croire qu'elle est morte..." Et, plus tard encore, des gens me disaient : "Ta mère, mieux vaut que tu l'oublies." - "Mais ou est-elle?" demandais-je. - "N'y pense plus, elle est morte." Après quoi, tout à coup, j'avais de ses nouvelles... Et il en fut ainsi pendant des annèes. Je la croyais morte et je le disais. Et elle vivait. Ce qui fait qu'on a prétendu que j'avais inventé qu'elle était morte, parce que je ne voulais pas avouer où elle était. Idiot!
En tout cas, j'ai eu... attendez que je compte... dix, non onze "familles". La première vivait dans une petite ville du comté de Los Angeles ; je suis née à Los Angeles. Il y avait avec moi un petit garçon que ces gens adoptèrent ensuite. Je suis restée avec eux jusqu'à l'âge de sept ans environ. Ils étaient affreusement sévères. Sans méchanceté. C'était leur religion. Ils m'élevèrent à leur manière, durement, en me corrigeant souvent comme on ne devrait jamais le faire, à mon avis: à coup de ceinturon de cuir. Finalement, cela se sut ; on me retira pour me confier à un couple anglais, à Hollywood. Ceux-là étaient des acteurs, des figurants plutôt, avec une fille de vingt et un ans qui était la doublure de Madeleine Carroll. Chez eux, c'était la vie sans souci, et assez tumultueuse. Cela me changeait de la première famille ou on ne pouvait même pas parler de cinéma ou d'acteurs, ni de danser ou de chanter, sauf des psaumes. Mes "nouveaux parents" travaillaient dur, quand ils travaillaient et jouissaient de la vie le reste du temps. Ils aimaient danser, chanter, boire, jouer aux cartes et avoir beaucoup d'amis. Avec l'éducation religieuse que j'avais reçue, j'étais terrifiée : je les voyais tous en enfer! Je passais des heures à prier pour eux. Je me rappelle une chose... au bout de quelques mois, je crois, ma mère acheta une petite maison où tout le monde alla vivre. Pas pour longtemps ; trois mois au plus. Cette fois encore, ma mère dut être... emmenée. Et même pendant ces trois mois, je la vis à peine. Bref, ce fut un grand changement. Après son départ, nous regagnâmes Hollywood. Ces anglais me gardèrent tant qu'il y eut de l'argent... l'argent de ma mère, de ses biens et d'une assurance qu'elle avait souscrite. C'est avec eux que j'ai fait la connaissance du cinéma. Je n'avais pas huit ans. Ils me déposaient devant une des grandes salles d'Hollywood, L'Egyptien ou le Grauman's Chinese tôt le matin. Toute seule, je regardais les singes en cage devant l'Egyptien, ou j'essayais de placer mes pieds dans les moulages de ceux des stars, à l'entrèe du Grauman's: mais je n'y arrivais jamais, j'avais de trop grands souliers... C'est drôle de penser que mes empreintes y sont, et que maintenant, d'autres petites filles font peut-être comme moi autrefois.
Ils me conduisaient donc là chaque samedi et dimanche. C'était repos pour eux et j'imagine qu'ils ne voulaient pas s'encombrer d'un enfant à la maison. D'ailleurs, cela valait probablement mieux pour moi.
J'attendais l'ouverture, je donnais mes dix cents et m'installais au premier rang. J'ai vu toutes sortes de films comme cela. Je me souviens de 'Cléôpatre', avec Claudette Colbert.
Je restais là, tard, séance après séance. J'étais censée rentrer avant la nuit. Mais comment pouvais-je savoir quand c'était la nuit?! Et puis, on était bien; et même si je ne pouvais rien acheter quand j'avais faim, je savais qu'on me garderait de quoi manger. Alors, je restais. J'avais mes stars préférées. Jean Harlow!... Mes cheveux étaient platines ;on m'appelait "Tête d'étoupe". Je détestais ça, je rêvais de cheveux blond doré... jusqu'à ce que je l'ai vue : si belle, et platine, comme moi!... Et Clark Gable! J'éspère qu'il ne m'en voudra pas si je dis que je voyais en lui mon père, je n'étais qu'une gamine, et, d'après Freud, il n'y a pas mal à cela, au contraire! Je rêvais que mon père lui ressemblait, ou même qu'il était mon père... ce qui me rappelle que c'est curieux, mais je n'ai jamais rêvé que personne fût ma mère... Ou en étais-je?!

Georges Belmont: Le couple anglais. Quand il n'y a plus eu d'argent...

Marilyn Monroe: Oui. On m'a mise à l'orphelinat. Oh! mais, attendez! Oh!... non! Quand ces anglais n'ont plus pu me garder, je suis allée vivre chez des gens à Hollywood. Des gens de la Nouvelle-Orléans. Je m'en souviens parce qu'ils prononçaient "New Orlinns".
Mais je n'y suis pas restée longtemps. Trois, quatre mois. Je me rappelle seulement que le mari était opérateur de cinéma et que, tout à coup, on m'a conduite à l'orphelinat. Je sais, certains prétendent que ce n'était pas un endroit si affreux. Mais je sais aussi que la maison a beaucoup changé ; peut-être est-ce moins sinistre à présent... bien que l'orphelinat le plus moderne du monde demeure un orphelinat, si l'on voit ce que je veux dire.
La nuit, quand les autres dormaient, je restais à la fenêtre du dortoir et je pleurais parce que, loin et haut par-dessus les toits, je voyais briller les lettres des studios R.K.O. et que ma mère y avait travaillé come monteuse. Des annèes après, en 1951, quand je tournais 'Clash by night' pour R.K.O., je suis montée là-haut pour essayer de voir l'orphelinat; mais il y avait de trop grands buildings. J'ai lu, je ne sais où, que nous n'étions pas plus que trois ou quatre par chambre dans cet orphelinat. C'est faux. J'étais dans un dortoir de vingt-cinq lits, dont on pouvait faire le tour si on le méritait, en remontant du lit n°1 au lit n°27, qu'on appelait le "lit d'honneur". Et du 27, si l'on était très sage, on pouvait espérer passer dans un autre dortoir avec moins de lits. J'y ai réussi une fois. Mais un matin, où j'étais en retard, je pense, et où je laçais mes chaussures, la surveillante me dit : "Descendez!" Je tentai de lui expliquer: "Mais il faut que j'attache mes souliers!" Elle me foudroya : "retour au lit n°27!".
Le lever était à 6 heures et nous devions faire certaines corvées avant d'aller à l'école. Nous avions chacune un lit, une chaise et une armoire. Tout cela devait être très propre, astiqué, à cause des inspections à l'improviste. J'ai nettoyé le dortoir pendant un temps. Tous les jours, bouger les lits, balayer, épousseter. Les salles de bain, c'était plus facile: moins de poussière, à cause du sol en ciment. J'ai travaillé également aux cuisines. Je lavais la vaisselle. Nous étions cent: je lavais donc cent assiettes et autant de cuillères et de fourchettes... pas de couteaux ni de verres; nous buvions dans les quarts. Seulement, à la cuisine, on gagnait des sous: cinq cents par mois et à cela, après qu'on vous retenait un cent pour l'école du dimanche. Bref, on se retrouvait avec un cent au bout du mois, s'il n'y avait que quatre dimanches; de quoi acheter peut-être un petit cadeau pour sa meilleure amie, à Noël, en économisant. Je ne peux pas dire que j'étais très heureuse. Je n'étais pas bien avec les surveillantes. Mais la directrice était très gentille. Je me souviens, qu'un jour, elle me fait appeller dans son bureau et me dit: "Vous avez une très jolie peau, mais un peu luisante. Nous allons y mettre un soupçon de poudre, pour voir." Je me sentais honorée d'être là. Elle avait un petit pékinois qu'on empêchait d'aller avec les enfants parce qu'il les mordrait, mais qui me fit des tas d'amitiés. Comme j'adorais déjà les chiens, imaginez!... J'étais si honorée, vraiment, que je marchais dans les airs.
Un peu plus tard, j'ai voulu m'évader avec d'autres camarades. Pour aller où ? Nous n'en avions pas la moindre idée. Le temps de traverser une grande pelouse, nous étions déjà rattrapées. Quand on me ramena, je suppliais: "Ne le dites pas à la directrice!" - parce que je la voyais encore me sourire en me tapotant le nez avec sa houpette, et parce qu'elle m'avait laissé caresser son petit chien.
Même maintenant, cela revient parfois, quand je suis trop nerveuse ou surexcitée. Une fois, j'avais un petit rôle, avec une scène où je devais gravir un escalier; j'ai oublié ce qui arriva, mais le metteur en scéne assistant se précipita vers moi en me criant des mots et j'en fus si bouleversée que, au moment de la reprise, impossible de dire la réplique! Rien qu'un affreux bafouillis. Sur quoi, le metteur en scène, furieux, se précipite à son tour et crie : "Tout de même, vous ne bégayez pas?" - "V-v-vous croyez ça?" lui ai-je dit. C'était horrible! Et ça l'est encore, quand je parle trop vite ou quand je dois faire un discours. Pénible!...
(Silence) Je voudrais qu'on en ait fini avec cette partie de ma vie...
Je suis restée environ un an et demi dans cet orphelinat. Nous allions à l'école. C'est très mauvais pour les enfants d'une institution comme celle là, d'aller à l'école publique. Les autres nous montraient du doigt et serinaient : "Oh, v'là les orphelins!" Nous avions honte.

A l'école, j'aimais bien le chant et l'anglais. Je détestais le calcul ; je n'avais pas l'esprit à ça ; pendant les leçons, mes rêves s'envolaient par la fenêtre. Mais j'étais bonne en gymnastique et en sport. J'étais très grande. A l'orphelinat, le premier jour, on n'a pas voulu me croire quand j'ai dit mon âge: neuf ans. On m'en donnait quatorze. Je mesurais presque ma taille actuelle: 1m63. Mais j'étais très maigre jusqu'à onze ans, où les choses ont changé. Je n'étais plus à l'orphelinat, à cet âge. Je m'étais tellement plainte à ma tutrice qu'elle me sortit de là. C'était une vieille amie de ma mère. Grace McKee. Elle est morte il y a onze ans. A l'époque où elle était devenue ma tutrice, elle était chef monteuse chez Columbia. Puis on la renvoya et elle a épousé alors un homme de dix ans plus jeune qu'elle et père de trois enfants. Ils étaient très pauvres et, pour cela, ne pouvaient s'occuper de moi. En outre, je pense qu'elle estimait que son premier devoir allait à son mari et aux enfants de celui-ci, ce qui est normal. Néanmoins, elle était merveilleuse pour moi, à bien des égards. Sans elle, j'aurais pu me retrouver Dieu sait où, à l'Assistance Publique jusqu'à 18 ans.
A mon orphelinat, qui était privé, elle venait me voir et me sortait. Pas souvent, mais tout de même... cela me donnait du courage. Je n'avais que neuf ou dix ans, et elle me laissait jouer avec son rouge à lèvres ou me menait chez le coiffeur pour une ondulation... chose inouïe, d'abord parce que c'était interdit, et puis parce que j'avais les cheveux raides: alors vous imaginez ce que cela représentait! De plus, c'est elle qui me retira de l'orphelinat, après mes plaintes, ainsi que je l'ai dit. Naturellement, cela signifia d'autres "familles". Je me souviens d'une où je restais trois ou quatre semaines. Je m'en souviens à cause de la femme qui allait livrer des choses que son mari fabriquait. Elle m'emmenait avec elle, et oh! la voiture me rendait si malade!...
J'ignore si on les payait pour me garder. Je sais seulement que, après eux, j'ai tout le temps changé de maison. Certaines familles me prenaient à la fin d'un trimestre scolaire et en avaient assez, après les vacances; ou peut-être étais-ce l'arrangement. Par la suite, le comté de Los Angeles m'a prise en charge. C'était pire: je détestais ça. Même à l'orphelinat, quand j'allais à l'école, j'essayais toujours de ne pas avoir l'air d'une orpheline. Mais maintenant, une femme arrivait et disait: "Voyons, voyons... lève les pieds" et elle marquait: "Paire de chaussures". Puis: "A-t-elle un chandail ?" Ou encore: "Je crois que la pauvre fille aurait bien besoin de deux robes, une pour l'école, une pour le dimanche." Et les chandails étaient en coton et laids, les robes semblaient taillées dans de la toile de sac... Terrible! Et les chaussures! Je disais: "Je n'en veux pas!" Je m'arrangeais toujours pour me faire donner des robes, des robes de grandes personnes, qu'on recoupait à ma taille. Et la plupart du temps, j'avais des souliers de tennis: on en trouvait pour moins d'un dollar. Je devais être une drôle de fille, à cette époque. Très grande, comme je l'ai dit. Pas grimacière pour la nourriture. Mangeant de tout. Je le sais parce que, dans presque toute les familles, on disait que jamais on avait vu une enfant aussi peu difficile. Je sais aussi que j'étais très tranquille, avec les grandes personnes en tout cas. On m'appelait "la souris". Je parlais peu, sauf quand j'étais avec d'autres gosses. Alors je n'étais plus la même. Ils aimaient jouer avec moi. J'avais de l'invention; je disais: "On joue au divorce, au crime!" et eux me regardaient: "Mais où vas-tu prendre ça?".
J'étais probablement très différente des autres. Alors que les enfants refusent en général d'aller se coucher, jamais je ne rechignais. Au contraire, de moi-même je disais: "Je crois que je vais aller me coucher." J'aimais la solitude de ma chambre, et mon lit. J'aimais surtout me jouer le dernier film que j'avais vu. Debout sur mon lit, plus grande que jamais, je jouais tous les rôles, y compris ceux des hommes, et j'ajoutais des inventions de mon cru. J'adorais cela, tout comme jouer la comédie dans les fêtes scolaires.
Là, toujours à cause de ma taille, j'ai joué le roi une fois, et une autre fois le prince. J'ai eu une période heureuse, dans cette partie de ma jeunesse: celle où j'ai vécu chez "tante" Anna. C'était une vielle femme de soixante ou soixante-cinq ans, parente de Grace McKee. Elle m'aimait beaucoup et j'y étais très sensible. Elle me comprenait. Elle n'oubliait jamais qu'elle avait été jeune et ses merveilleuses histoires, tristes ou gaies, de ce temps passé, me fascinaient. Le soir, quand je faisais la vaisselle, j'étais si heureuse que je chantais ou sifflais par la fenêtre de la cuisine, et qu'elle disait: "Quel pinson! Je n'ai jamais rien entendu de pareil!". C'est vers la fin de cette période qu'on m'a mariée. Il y a peu de choses à dire de ce mariage. Grace McKee et son mari devaient partir pour la Virginie. A Los Angeles, ils touchaient vingt dollars du comté pour moi; si je partais avec eux, nous perdions cet argent. Comme ils n'étaient pas assez riches pour me faire vivre mais qu'ils m'aimaient bien, il fallait trouver un moyen de me "caser". En Californie, une jeune fille peut se marier à seize ans. On m'a donc donné le choix: ou entrer dans un Orphelinat d'Etat jusqu'à dix-huit ans ou me marier. J'avais presque seize ans; j'ai choisi le mariage.
Il s'appelait Dougherty, il avait vingt et un ans et travaillait dans une usine. Peu de temps après, ce fut la guerre. D'abord mobilisé comme moniteur d'éducation physique, il fut versé ensuite dans l'armée active, mais échoua finalement dans la marine marchande. Peu avant la fin de la guerre, j'allais à Las Vegas et obtins le divorce. J'avais vingt ans. Aujourd'hui, il est agent de police. J'ai travaillé en usine pendant la guerre. J'ai commencé par vérifier des parachutes, pour avions-cibles, pas pour hommes. Puis, je suis passée au "collage", comme on appelait ça... un enduit qu'on étalait sur ce qui servait à fabriquer les avions-cibles. C'était fastidieux et il y avait une mauvaise ambiance humaine. Les femmes parlaient surtout de l'emploi de leurs soirées et du prochain week-end. Je travaillais tout près de l'atelier de peinture au pistolet... rien que des hommes. Ils m'écrivaient des mots et s'arrêtaient de peindre, etc.
C'était si monotone que je travaillais vite, pour me débarrasser. Le résultat fut inattendu. On a dû trouver que j'abattais un travail formidable. Il y a eu une assemblée générale du personnel et le directeur m'a citée pour "bonne volonté exemplaire" et m'a remis une insigne en or et un bon du Trésor de vingt-cinq dollars. Les autres filles ont été folles de jalousie et m'ont mené la vie dure, après cela. Elles ricanaient et faisaient exprès de me bousculer quand j'allais remplir mon pot d'enduit; pour le renverser sur moi. Oh, j'ai souffert! Et puis, un jour, l'Armée de l'Air a voulu des photos de notre usine. Je revenais d'un congé, on m'appelle au bureau: "Où vous cachiez-vous?" Morte de peur, je réponds: "J'étais en permission régulière!"- ce qui était vrai. On me dit: "Là n'est pas la question. Voulez-vous poser pour des photos?" Bref, les photographes arrivèrent et prirent des photos. Ils en réclamèrent d'autres, hors de l'atelier. Moi, j'avais peur de m'attirer des ennuis si je quittais mon travail. J'ai refusé, j'ai dit: "Demandez la permission." Ils l'ont obtenue et j'ai passée plusieurs journées à poser ici, là, et à tenir des trucs, pousser des trucs, tirer des trucs...
Les photos étaient développées dans les laboratoires Eastman-Kodak. Et là, les gens ont demandé qui était le modèle et en ont parlé aux photographes; si bien que l'un d'eux - David Conover - est revenu me dire: "Vous devriez faire le modèle. Vous gagneriez facilement cinq dollars de l'heure." Cinq dollars de l'heure, alors que j'en gagnais vingt par semaine, pour dix heures de travail par jour, les pieds sur le ciment! Il y avait de quoi tenter la moins folle des filles.
Je m'y suis mise peu à peu. C'était la fin de la guerre. J'ai quitté l'usine. Je me suis présentée à une agence. J'ai eu du travail. Photos publicitaires. Calendriers... Pas celui qui a fait tant de bruit; nous y viendrons. D'autres, où j'étais brune, rousse, blonde. Et je gagnais vraiment cinq dollars de l'heure! De temps à autres, je pouvais réaliser un de mes rêves: me payer des leçons d'art dramatique... quand j'avais assez d'argent, car ça coûtait cher, dix dollars de l'heure! Je faisais la connaissance de gens très différents de ce que j'avais connus jusqu'alors. Des bons et des mauvais. Souvent, quand j'attendais un bus à un coin de rue, une voiture s'arrêtait et l'homme au volant me débitait une histoire: "Qu'est-ce que vous fabriquez là? Vous devriez être dans les films." Ensuite, il proposait de me ramener. Moi, je répondais toujours: "Non merci. J'aime mieux le bus." Mais tout de même, l'idée du cinéma cheminait dans ma tête. Une fois, je me souviens, j'ai accepté un rendez-vous dans un studio avec un homme rencontré de cette façon. Il devait être très persuasif. J'y suis allée. C'était un samedi et il n'y avait pas un chat dans ces studios. J'aurais dû me méfier, mais j'étais naïve à bien des points de vue. Bref, je trouve mon homme qui me conduit dans un bureau. Nous étions seuls. Il me tend un scénario en disant que je devrais faire l'affaire pour un rôle, mais qu'il faut voir. Sur quoi, il me demande de lire le rôle, tout en insistant pour que je relève ma robe et que je la garde comme ça. C'était en été et j'avais un maillot de bain sous ma robe. Mais comme il répétait: "Plus haut!" j'ai pris peur et, toute rouge, je me suis entêtée de mon côté: "Seulement si je garde mon chapeau!" C'était idiot, mais j'avais vraiment peur et j'étais déséspérée. Je devais être ridicule, assise là et cramponnée à mon chapeau. A la fin, il s'est mis en fureur, ce qui a achevé de me terrifier, je me suis sauvée et j'ai signalé l'affaire à l'agence. On a téléphoné aux studios, et ailleurs, pour essayer de le retrouver. Impossible. Il devait avoir un ami dans la place qui lui avait permis d'utiliser son bureau. L'incident me bouleversa à tel point que, pendant assez longtemps, je résolus de ne jamais être actrice. C'est une dure époque de ma vie. Je déménageais tout le temps, d'un meublé à l'autre. L'hôtel était trop cher.
Et puis le hasard a fait qu'on m'a vue sur la couverture de cinq magasines différents le même mois et la Fox a téléphoné. Je me suis retrouvée sur un banc de bois avec des gens de tout âge et de toutes dimensions qui attendaient comme moi. On a attendu lontemps avant que Ben Lyon, qui dirigeait le recrutement, sorte de son bureau. A peine sorti, il a dit en me montrant du doigt : "Qui est-ce?" Je portais une petite robe blanche en piqué que "Tante" Anna - j'étais revenue vivre chez elle quelque temps - avait lavée et repassée à toute vitesse; tout cela était arrivé si rapidement que je n'aurais jamais pu préparer la robe et me préparer en même temps; "Tante" Anna m'avait dit: "Je m'occupe de la robe. Occupe-toi de tes cheveux et de ton maquillage."
Je me sentais plutôt défaite aprés cette longue attente. Mais Lyon fut très gentil. Il me dit qu'il me trouvait si fraîche, si jeune, etc... Il dit même : "vous êtes la première que je découvre depuis Jean Harlow." Jean Harlow, entre nous, est ma préférée d'autrefois!
Le lendemain, bien qu'il eût fallu normalement le consentement du Président directeur général ou de je ne sais qui, Lyon me glissa dans une série de bouts d'essais en technicolor et, presque aussitôt, la Fox me signa un contrat. Un contrat de star, pour un an!
En pure perte d'ailleurs. Je n'ai jamais su pourquoi, jamais compris. Ils engageaient des tas de filles et de garçons et les laissaient tomber sans leur accorder une seule chance. Ce fut mon cas. Mise à la porte, j'essayai de voir M. Zanuck. Impossible. Chaque fois, on me répondait qu'il était à Sun Valley. Semaine après semaine je revins à l'assaut : "Navré", me disait-on. "Il est occupé, il est à Sun Valley." J'imagine, il y est encore... bien que je l'ai revu, quand la Fox me reprit sous contrat, après 'Asphalt Jungle'. Il me dit: "Vous avez déjà été ici apparemment ?" - "C'est vrai." - "Que voulez vous, la roue tourne!" et il enchaîna en déclarant que j'avais "quelque-chose", une qualité à trois dimensions qui lui rappelait Jean Harlow; ce qui fut très intéressant puisque ça avait été l'avis de Ben Lyon. Je dois beaucoup à Ben Lyon, il fut le premier à me donner confiance. Je lui doit aussi mon nom actuel. Un jour où nous cherchions pour moi un nom de cinéma, car je ne voulais pas garder celui d'un homme qui n'était pas mon père, j'insistai pour prendre celui du nom de jeune fille de ma mère: Monroe. Je tenais à conserver du moins une forme de lien avec mes parents. Il accepta Monroe, mais ce fut lui qui trouva Marilyn, parce que, dit-il, après Jean Harlow, l'actrice à laquelle je ressemblais le plus était Marilyn Miller, la fameuse vedette des comédies musicales de Broadway. Etrange, quand on y pense que me voilà devenue Marilyn Miller pour l'état civil!
Mais enfin, pour en revenir à notre histoire, j'étais donc sans rien. Saquée par la Fox, saquée par la Columbia un peu plus tard, quoique différemment. La Columbia m'avait du moins donné un rôle dans 'Ladies of the Chorus'. Un film affreux! Je jouais une danseuse de burlesque dont un type de Boston tombe amoureux. Horrible! Mais ce n'était pas la raison de mon départ. Le vrai motif tient à des circonstances plutôt étranges et, mettons, déplaisantes. Je n'en dirai pas plus, si ce n'est que... la vie est pleine de leçons. Je ne voyais pas d'issue. J'étais revenue aux jours les plus durs. J'habitais au Hollywood Studio Club. J'y étais très malheureuse: cela me rappelait l'orphelinat. J'avais des dettes et j'étais très en retard pour mon loyer. Au Club, on vous accorde une semaine de retard et, après, vous recevez un petit mot: "Vous êtes la seule à ne pas apporter votre soutien à notre merveilleuse institution.", etc. Et vous comprenez! Tant que vous vivez là, vous mangez deux fois par jour, petit déjeuner et dîner. Ce n'est pas toujours très bon, mais cela nourrit. Et vous avez un toit et un lit. Sans cela, où aller? Pas de famille. Rien. Personne. Et j'avais faim. Je sais, des gens me disaient: "Pourquoi ne pas chercher un job de vendeuse, quelque part ?" Oui, pourquoi pas ? Une fois j'ai essayé, dans un drugstore: on n'a pas voulu de moi parce que je n'avais pas terminé mes etudes de lycée. Et puis, comment dire ?... ce n'était pas la même chose. J'avais été modèle et surtout je voulais devenir une actrice et il me semblait que, si je retombais, ce serait sans retour. On a raconté beaucoup de fables à propos du fameux calendrier. A l'époque où l'on a découvert la chose, j'avais déjà fait 'Asphalt Jungle' et j'étais de nouveau sous contrat avec la Fox, pour sept ans cette fois. J'entends encore la voix de celui qui m'appela au téléphone, des bureaux de la Publicité: "C'est vrai que vous avez posé pour un calendrier?" - "Bien sûr", dis-je. "Cela vous ennuie?" puis j'ai compris à quel point ils étaient bouleversés, car la voix reprit : "Eh bien, même si c'est vrai, dites que non." - "Mais j'ai signé l'autorisation de vente! Comment voulez-vous que je mente?" Et, si contrariés qu'ils fussent, je dis la vérité. Mais quand les journalistes me demandèrent pourquoi et que je repondi: "J'avais faim", on crut à un bon mot.
Ceux qui me connaissent bien savent que j'ai beaucoup de mal à mentir. Cela m'a coûté assez cher dans la vie. Il m'arrive de passer délibérement des choses sous silence, pour me protéger ou protéger les autres - qui n'a pas envie ou besoin de se protéger? - mais je ne mens jamais. J'avais faim et j'avais quatre semaines de loyer en retard; je cherchais déséspérémment de l'argent. Telle est la vérité. Je me suis rappelée que j'avais posé pour les publicités de bière avec le photographe Tom Kelley, et que sa femme, Nathalie, avait suggéré que je devrais poser sans vêtements, en ajoutant qu'il n'y avait rien de mal à cela et que c'était bien payé: cinquante dollars, la somme dont j'avais besoin. Alors, comme ils avaient toujours été très gentils pour moi, j'ai téléphoné. J'ai commencé par dire à Tom: "Etes-vous sûr qu'on ne me reconnaîtra pas ?" Il l'a promis. Puis j'ai demandé si Nathalie serait là. "Oui." - Mais ça devra être de nuit", ai-je insisté. "Après que vos assistants seront partis. Vous devrez vous debrouillez tout seul avec Nathalie pour les éclairages." Il a dit oui. Je suis venue. Ils se montrèrent d'une compréhension extrêmes; ils me sentaient suffisamment bouleversée. Ils ont étalé un velour rouge. Ce fut vite fait, très simple, et plein de courants d'air. Mais je pus payer le loyer et manger.
Les gens sont drôles. Ils vous posent de ces questions ! Et si vous êtes franches, ils sont choqués ! On me demande: "Qu'est-ce que vous mettez pour vous coucher ? Un haut de pijama ? Le bas ? Une chemise de nuit ?" Je reponds: "Une goutte de Chanel n°5", et l'on croit que c'est encore un bon mot, alors que j'essaie de répondre avec tact à une question grossière et indiscrète. Et puis, c'est vrai ! Mais on ne le croit pas !
Il fut un moment où je commençais à être... reconnue, disons, et où les gens n'arrivaient pas à imaginer ce que je faisais quand je n'étais pas sur le plateau, parce qu'on ne me voyait à aucune première, aucune représentation de presse, aucune réception. C'est simple: j'allais à l'école ! Je n'avais jamais pu finir mes études, alors j'allais à l'Université de Los Angeles. Le soir. Dans la journée, je gagnais ma vie avec des petits rôles dans les films. Je suivais des cours d'histoire de littérature et d'histoire de ce pays; je lisais beaucoup, de grands écrivains. C'était dur d'être à l'heure pour les cours. Je devais me dépêcher. Je quittais le studio à 6h30 et j'avais dû me lever très tôt pour être sur le plateau, prête, à 9 heures du matin. Souvent j'étais morte de fatigue; il m'arrivait même de m'endormir en classe. Mais je me forçais à rester droite et à écouter. J'avais pour voisin un jeune noir, studieux et brillant: il me donnait l'exemple et cela m'aidait à rester éveillée. Entre parenthéses, c'était un humble postier à l'époque; il est aujourd'hui directeur des postes à Los Angeles. Le professeur, Mme Seay, ne savait pas qui j'étais, bien qu'elle trouvât bizzare que des garçons des autres classes passaient parfois la tête à la porte, pendant les cours, pour me regarder en chuchotant. Un jour, elle se décida à interroger mes camarades, qui dirent: "Elle joue dans les films". Surprise, elle déclara: "Et moi qui la prenais pour une jeune fille fraîche émoulue du couvent!" C'est l'un des plus grands compliments qu'on m'ait jamais faits.
Mais les gens dont je parlais tout à l'heure, eux, préféraient voir en moi une starlette frivole, "sexy" et stupide. C'est comme ma réputation d'être toujours en retard. D'abord, tout le temps, non ! On se rappele seulement quand je le suis. Cela dit, je crois en effet que je ne peux pas aller aussi vite que les autres. Ils sautent en voiture, se rentrent dedans, sans répit... Je ne crois pas que nous soyons faits pour vivre comme des machines. D'ailleurs, c'est tellement inutile ! On travaille tellement mieux avec un peu plus de bon sens et de loisirs ! Au studio, si je dois me presser pour répéter ou pour me faire coiffer, maquiller, habiller, j'arrive épuisée sur le plateau. Pendant que nous tournions 'Let's make love', George Cukor, le metteur en scéne, a trouvé plus intelligent de me laisser un peu en retard mais plus fraîche. En tout ce que je fais, j'aime prendre mon temps. On se bouscule trop, de nos jours. C'est pourquoi les gens sont si nerveux et si malheureux en face de la vie et d'eux-mêmes. Comment peut-on faire parfaitement quoi que ce soit, dans ces conditions ? La perfection demande du temps.
J'aimerais devenir une grande actrice, une vraie, et être heureuse aussi parfaitement que possible. Mais qui est heureux ? Le bonheur ! Vouloir devenir une vraie actrice, tout cela demande beaucoup d'effort et de temps.

Georges Belmont: J'imagine que ce portrait de la Duse, au mur, n'est pas ici pour rien ?

Marilyn Monroe: Non. J'ai une grande tendresse pour elle. A cause de sa vie, comme femme et comme actrice. Comment dire ?... Elle n'a jamais fait de concession, dans un cas comme dans l'autre.
Personnellement, quand il m'arrive de réussir quelque chose dans mon métier, j'ai le sentiment de toucher à ce qu'on appelle le sommet du bonheur. Mais ce ne sont que des moments ! Je ne suis pas heureuse, comme ça, en général. Si je suis quelque chose, en général, ce serait plutôt misérable comme un chien ! Mes deux vies, professionelle et privée, me sont si personnelles, sont si étroitement liées, que je ne peux les séparer: l'une réagit constamment sur l'autre.
L'ennui dans mon cas, je pense, c'est que je voudrais tant être merveilleuse ! Je sais que cela fera rire certains, mais c'est vrai. Une fois, à New York, mon avocat me parlait d'histoires d'argent, en déployant une patience d'ange pour m'expliquer ça. A la fin je lui ai dit: "Je n'y comprend rien et je m'en moque. Je sais seulement que je voudrais être merveilleuse!". Dites cela à un homme de loi, il vous croira folle.
Il y a un livre du poète Rainer Maria Rilke qui m'a beaucoup aidée: 'Lettres à un jeune poète'. Sans lui, peut-être croirais-je par moments que je suis folle. Quand un artiste... je m'excuse, mais je considère que je suis presque une artiste, et là encore, on rira sans doute; c'est pourquoi je m'excuse... quand un artiste recherche à tout prix la vérité, il a parfois la sensation de frôler la folie. Mais ce n'est pas vraiment la folie. C'est seulement qu'on s'efforce de faire sortir ce qu'on a de plus vrai en soi-même; et croyez-moi, c'est dur. Il y a des jours où l'on se dit: "Sois vraie, c'est tout !", et ça ne sort pas. Et d'autres jours, c'est si simple !
J'ai toujours eu le sentiment secret de ne pas être absolument sincère. Tout le monde sent cela, de temps à autre, je suppose. Mais dans mon cas, cela va loin parfois... jusqu'à penser que, foncièrement, je ne suis qu'un monstre de fabrication. Lee Strasberg, le directeur de l'Actors Studio me répète souvent: "...Pourquoi es-tu si mécontente de toi-même ?" Et il ajoute: "Après tout, tu es un être humain !" Et moi je lui réponds: "Oui, mais j'ai l'impression que je dois être plus que cela." - "Non!" me dit-il alors. "C'est cela que tu essaies de faire en ce moment ?" - "Il faut bien que j'entre dans la peau du personnage, non ?!" Et il répète encore : "Non ! Tu es un être humain. Pars de toi-même !" La première fois qu'il m'a sorti cela, j'ai crié : "De MOI?" Et il a répondu : "Oui! De TOI !!".
Après Arthur, Lee est probablement celui qui a le plus changé ma vie. C'est pourquoi j'aime tant aller à l'Actors Studio. A New York, j'y vais régulièrement. Je n'ai qu'une envie: faire de mon mieux, toujours, à tout instant. Sur le plateau, dès que la caméra se déclenche, je veux être parfaite, aussi parfaite que possible, jusqu'au bout. Quand j'étais à l'usine, le samedi soir, j'allais au cinéma. C'était le seul moment où je pouvais me distraire, rire, être moi-même. Alors, si le film était mauvais, quelle déception ! Toute la semaine, j'avais attendu et travaillé dur pour me payer cela. Si les acteurs me paraissaient jouer par-dessous la jambe, je sortais déçue comme si l'on m'avait trahie. Que me resterait-il pendant toute une semaine ? C'est pourquoi, aujourd'hui, quand je travaille, je songe toujours à ceux qui travaillent aussi pour pouvoir aligner leur argent au guichet dans l'espoir de s'amuser. Ce que pensent les producteurs et le metteur en scéne, cela m'est assez égal: mais pas ce que penseront les gens en voyant le film. Un jour, j'ai essayé d'expliquer ça à M. Zanuck...
L'amour et le travail sont les seules choses vraies qui nous arrivent dans la vie. Ils font la paire; sinon, c'est boiteux. D'ailleurs, le travail même est une forme d'amour. A l'usine j'ai dit que je me dépêchais d'expédier mon travail parce que c'était fastidieux; mais je me rappelle que, malgré tout, je mettais un point d'honneur à le faire exactement, aussi parfaitement que possible. Et si je rêvais de l'amour, c'était aussi comme d'une chose qui doit être la plus parfaite possible. Quand j'ai épousé Joe DiMaggio, en 1954, il ne jouait déjà plus au base-ball, mais c'était un merveilleux athlète et un être d'une grande sensiblité. Fils d'immigrants italiens, il avait eu une jeunesse difficile. Nous nous comprenions donc assez bien. Ce fut la base de notre mariage. Mais je dis assez bien. Et pour cela ce fut un échec. C'était fini au bout de neuf mois, malheureusement. Je mets le même point d'honneur à mes sentiments qu'à mon travail. Peut-être est-ce pourquoi je suis impétueuse et exclusive. J'aime bien les gens. Et quand j'aime, je pousse l'exclusivité jusqu'à ne plus avoir qu'une seule idée en tête ! Surtout, j'ai envi d'être traitée humainement.
La première fois que j'ai vu Arthur Miller, c'était sur un plateau et je pleurais. Je jouais dans un film 'As young as you feel', et il passait dans les studios avec Elia Kazan. Je pleurais à cause d'une amie dont je venais d'apprendre la mort. On nous présenta. Je voyais tout dans un brouillard. C'était en 1951. Je restai quatre ans sans le revoir, après cela. Nous nous écrivions et il m'envoya une liste de livres à lire. Mais je me rappelle que, constamment, je songeais qu'il me verrait peut-être dans un film... on passerait deux films, ce soir là, et peut-être serais-je dans un et me verrait-il. Alors, quand je travaillais, je faisais encore plus de mon mieux... Je ne sais comment décrire cela. Je l'aimais, depuis le premier jour. Voilà, c'est tout. Jamais je n'oublierai qu'il dit, ce jour là, qu'à son avis, je devrais faire du théâtre et que les gens autour de nous, sur le plateau, rirent en l'entendant. Mais il répéta: "Non, non, c'est très sérieux." Et le ton, son attitude, les circonstances, firent que je sentis en lui un être profondément humain et sensible, et qui m'avait traitée comme une personne humaine et sensible, moi aussi. C'est le mieux que je puisse dire. Mais c'est le plus important. Depuis notre mariage, quand je ne tourne pas, nous menons une vie tranquille et heureuse à New York, et plus encore dans notre maison du Connecticut pendant les week-ends. Mon mari aime travailler tôt le matin. Il se lève en général à 6 heures. Il se repose ensuite dans la journée en faisant la sieste. Comme l'appartement n'est pas grand, j'ai fait insonoriser son bureau. Il a besoin de solitude totale quand il travaille. Moi, je me lève à 8h30 et quelques. Nous avons une excellente cuisinière. Parfois, en attendant mon petit-déjeuner, je vais promener mon chien Hugo. mais quand la cuisinière est de sortie, je me lève plus tôt et je prépare le petit déjeuner pour mon mari; car je trouve qu'un homme ne doit pas s'occuper de ses repas. Je suis très vieux jeu à bien des égards. Je trouve aussi qu'un homme ne doit jamais porter à la main ce qui appartient en propre à la femme, souliers à hauts talons, sac, etc. Il m'arrive de cacher un peigne dans la poche de mon mari, mais c'est tout.
Après le petit déjeuner, je prends un bain, pour changer des jours de travail où je me lève si tôt, parfois à 6h ou 5h du matin, que je dois prendre deux douches, une chaude et une froide pour me secouer. A New York, j'aime à me tremper dans mon bain en lisant les journaux et écoutant des disques. Après, j'enfile une jupe, une blouse, des souliers plats et une veste de polo et, le mardi et le vendredi, je vais à l'Actors Studios, à 11h, ou les autres jours aux cours privés de Lee Strasberg. Je rentre pour le déjeuner, que nous prenons d'habitude ensemble, comme le dîner. Nous écoutons des disques en mangeant. Mon mari aime comme moi la musique classique. Ou le jazz s'il est excellent, bien que nous réservions plutôt cela aux soirées où nous avons des amis qui aiment danser. Souvent, Arthur se remet au travail après sa sieste. Je trouve toujours à m'occuper pendant ce temps. Il a deux enfants de son premier mariage et je m'efforce d'être une bonne belle-mère. Et il y a à faire dans l'appartement. J'aime faire la cuisine, pas tellement à la ville où l'on est trop bousculé, mais à la campagne pour le week-end. Je fais du très bon pain, et les nouilles aussi très bien. Rouler, sécher, la cuisson et la sauce. Ce sont mes deux spécialités. Mais j'aime également inventer... J'adore les assaisonnements ! L'ail ! Souvent, j'en mets de trop pour le goût des autres.
Il arrive que les acteurs avec qui j'étudie une scène pour les cours de Strasberg viennent à la maison, le matin ou l'après-midi et je leur prépare un petit-déjeuner ou le thé... Bref, les journées sont assez remplies. Mais toujours, j'ai soin d'être libre avant le dîner, pour mon mari. Aprés le dîner, parfois nous allons au théâtre ou au cinéma, ou des amis viennent, ou nous allons chez des amis. Mais très souvent, nous restons tout simplement à la maison, tous les deux, à écouter de la musique, parler ou lire. Ou encore, nous marchons dans les rues ou dans Central Park. Nous adorons marcher. Il n'y a pas de routine fixe dans notre vie. Il y a bien des moments où j'aimerai être plus organisée, faire certaines choses à certaines heures etc. Mais mon mari dit que comme ça, au moins, on ne s'ennuie pas ! Alors, tout va bien. Et puis, personellement, les choses ne m'ennuient jamais. Ce qui m'ennuient, ce sont les gens qui s'ennuient. J'aime beaucoup les gens; pourtant, parfois, je me demande si je suis vraiment sociable. La solitude ne me pèse pas. Cela m'est égal d'être seule. Même, j'aime cela. C'est un repos. Cela permet de prendre plus possession de soi-même, de se rafraîchir. Je crois qu'il y a deux aspects dans tout être humain; du moins, c'est ce que je sens dans mon cas. On a envie d'être seul, et en même temps, envie d'être ensemble. C'est un vrai conflit. J'y suis sensible à un point suraigu. C'est pourquoi, j'aime tant mon travail. Quand j'en suis contente, naturellement je me sens plus gaie, plus sociable. Quand ça ne va pas, j'ai envie d'être seule. Et c'est la même chose dans ma vie...

Georges Belmont: En sorte que, pour résumer, si je vous demande quelle impression cela fait d'être Marilyn Monroe, à ce stade de votre vie, que direz-vous?

Marilyn Monroe: Quelle impression cela vous fait-il d'être vous?

Georges Belmont: Parfois je suis content du monde et de moi-même. Parfois, non.

Marilyn Monroe: Et vous êtes heureux comme ça?

Georges Belmont: Ma foi, oui.

Marilyn Monroe: Eh bien, moi aussi. Et comme j'ai trente quatre ans et encore quelques années devant moi, j'éspère, cela me laisse le temps de travailler à devenir meilleure et plus heureuse dans mon métier comme dans ma vie privée. C'est ma seule ambition. Peut-être y mettrais-je le temps, car je suis lente; et je ne veux pas dire par là que ce soit le plus sûr moyen. Mais c'est le seul que je connaisse et qui me donne le sentiment que la vie, après tout, n'est pas sans espoir. 

- enregistrement audio -

1960-10-Georges_Belmont-interview-1  It was through Ruppert Allan, in charge of Marilyn's promotion, that the big interview between Marilyn Monroe and Georges Belmont took place in 1960. The latter was then editor of the french magazine Marie-Claire, which will publish the interview in number 72 of October 1960. The interview took place during the filming of the movie Let's Make Love which was a particular success in France because of Yves Montand's interpretation.
Georges Belmont soon succeeds in gaining Marilyn's trust. He had promised to provide her with a transcription of the interview and, moreover, to stick strictly in the written text to the oral formulation of her remarks. The basis was therefore good. All those who, afterward, read this interview, had to admit with astonishment that they had never heard Marilyn talk about herself so naturally.
This is how Georges Belmont depicts the atmosphere: "I just let her go ahead and speak. The only pressure I exerted was silence. When she was silent, I didn 't say anything either, and when she couldn 't stand it any longer and then continued talking she usually said something very important, something very moving."

MM: I'd much rather answer questions. I simply can't tell the whole story, that's terrible.... Where to begin? How? There are so many twists and turns.

GB: Still, it began somewhere. Your childhood?

MM: Well, that ... no one knew anything about it, except through pure coincidence.
For a long
time my past, my life, remained completely unknown. I never spoke about it. No particular reason, but simply because I felt it was my affair and not something for other people. Then one day a Mr. Lester Cowan wanted to put me in a film with Groucho Marx, called Love Happy. At that time I was under contract to Fox and Columbia, although they wanted to drop me....  He offered me a small part, this Mr. Cowan; but he was interested in putting me under contract. So he called. I was still very young, and he said he wanted to speak to my father and mother. I told him, "Impossible. ""Why?" he insisted. So I briefly explained the situation: "I
never lived with them." That was the truth, and I still don't see what was so unusual about it. But then he called Louella Parsons and told her the whole story, and it all appeared in Louella's column. That's the way it all began. Since then so many lies have been spread around. . . . My goodness, why shouldn't I simply tell the truth now?

GB: What are your earliest childhood memories?

MM: [long silence] My earliest memories? ... It's the memory of a struggle for survival. I was still very small - a baby in a little bed, yes, and I was struggling for life. But I'd rather not talk about it, if it's all the same to you. It's a cruel story, and it's no one's business but my own, as I said. 
Anyway, as far back as I can remember, I can see myself in a baby carriage, in a long white dress, on the sidewalk of a house where I lived with a family that wasn't my own.  It's true that I was illegitimate. But everything that's been said about my father - or my fathers - is wrong. My mother's first husband was named Baker. Her second was Mortensen. But she'd been divorced from both of them by the time I was born. Some people say my father was Norwegian, probably because of the name Mortensen, and that he was killed in a motorcycle accident right after my birth. I don't know if that's true, because he wasn't related to me. As far as my real father is concerned, I wish you wouldn't ask ... but there are a couple of things that could clear up some of the confusion. When I was very young, I was always told that my father was killed in a car crash in New York before I was born. Strangely enough, on my birth certificate under father's profession there's the word "baker," which was the name of my mother's first husband. When I was born - illegitimate, as I said - my mother had to give me a name. She was just trying to think quickly, I guess, and said "Baker." Pure coincidence, and then the official's confusion.... At least, I think that's the way it was.
Anyway, my name was Norma Jeane Baker. It was in all my school records. Everything else that's been said is crazy.

GB: Your mother. I read somewhere that to you she was just "the woman with the red hair"?

MM: I never lived with my mother. That's the truth, no matter what some people have said. As far back as I can remember I always lived with other people. My mother was mentally ill. She's dead now. And both of her parents died in mental institutions. My mother was also committed. Sometimes she got out, but she always had to go back. Well, you know how it is.... When I was real little, I'd say to every woman I'd see, "Oh, there's a mommy !" And if I saw a man, I'd say, "Oh, there's a daddy." But one morning - I was only about three -I was taking a bath and I said, "Mommy" to the woman who was taking care of me. And she said, "I'm not your mommy. Call me 'Aunt.'"" But he's my daddy !" I said and I pointed to her husband. "No," she
said, "we're not your parents. The one who comes here with the red hair, she's your mother." It was quite a shock to hear that. But since she didn't come very much, it's true that to me she was always "the woman with the red hair." Anyway, I knew that she existed. Then later on, when I was in an orphanage, I had another shock. I could read then, and when I saw the word "orphanage" in gold letters on a black background, they had to drag me in. I screamed, "I'm not an orphan! I have a mother!" But then I thought, "I'd better believe she's dead." And later people said, "It is better that you forget about your mother." "But where is she?" I asked. "Don't think about it," they said. "She's dead." And then a little bit later I suddenly heard
from her.... And that's the way it went for years. I thought she was dead, and I said so, too. But she was alive. So some people accused me of making it up that she was dead because I didn't want to admit where she was. It's crazy.
Anyway, I had - let's see - ten, no, eleven families. The first one lived in a small town near Los Angeles - I was born in Los Angeles. Along with me they had a little boy they later adopted. I stayed with them until I was around seven. They were terribly strict. They didn't mean any harm - it was their religion. They brought me up harshly, and correctedme in a way I think they never should have - with a leather strap. That finally came out, and so I was taken away and given to an English couple in Hollywood. They were actors, or I guess I should say extras, with a twenty-year-old daughter who was the spitting image of Madeleine Carroll. Life with them was pretty casual and tumultuous. That was quite a change from the first family, where we weren't allowed to talk about movies and actors or dance or sing, except maybe for psalms. My new "parents" worked hard, when they
worked, and they enjoyed life the rest of the time. They liked to dance and sing, they drank and played cards, and they had a lot of friends. Because of that religious upbringing I'd had, I was kind of shocked - I thought they were all going to hell. I spent hours praying for them. I remember something . . . after a few months my mother bought a small house where we were supposed to live. Not for very long - maybe three months. Then my mother had to be committed again. And that was a big change. After she left, we moved back to Hollywood. The English family kept me as long as there
was money - my mother's money from her savings and from an insurance policy she had. Through them I learned a lot about the movies. I wasn't even eight. They used to take me to one of the big movie theaters in Hollywood, the Egyptian or Grauman's Chinese. I used to watch the monkeys in the cages outside the Egyptian, all alone, and I tried to fit my feet into the footprints in front of Grau-man's, and I could never get my feet in because my shoes were too big.... It's funny to think that my footprints are there now, and that other little girls are trying to do the same thing I did.
They took me there every Saturday and Sunday. That was a break for them, I think; they worked very hard and they didn't want to be bothered with this child around the house all the time. It was probably better for me, too. I'd wait till the movie opened and then for ten cents I'd get in and sit in the front row. I watched all kinds of movies there - like Cleopatra with Claudette Colbert; I remember that so well. I'd sit there and watch the movie over and over. I had to be home before it got dark, hut how was I supposed to know when it was dark? The folks were good to me: even if I didn't get anything to eat when I was hungry I knew they'd save something for me at home. So I stayed at the movies. I had favorite stars. Jean Harlow ! I had
platinum blonde hair and people used to call me "tow-head." I hated that and I dreamed of having golden hair .. • until I saw her, so beautiful and with platinum blonde hair like mine. And Clark Gable. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I say it, because in a Freudian sense it's supposed to be very good ... I used to think of him as my father. I'd pretend he was my father - I never pretended anyone was my mother, I don't know why- but I always pretended he was my father.... Where was I?

GB: The English couple. And when the money ran out.. .

MM: Oh, yes. They put me in an orphanage. No, wait a minute. When the English couple couldn't keep me anymore, I went to stay with some people in North Hollywood, people from New Orleans.
I remember that because they always called it "New Orleeens." I didn't stay there long, two or three months. I only remember that he was a cameraman and that one day he suddenly took me to the orphanage. I know a lot of people say that the orphanage wasn't so bad. But I do know that it's changed in the meantime. Perhaps it's not as gloomy.... But of course even the most modern orphanage is still an orphanage - if you know what I mean. At night, when the others were sleeping, I'd sit up in the window and cry because I'd look over and see the RKO studio sign above the roofs in the distance, where my mother had worked as a cutter. When I went there to work, years later, in 1951, doing Clash by Night, I went up to see if I could see the orphanage. But there were too many tall buildings in the way. I once read, I don't know where, that there were only three or four of us in a room in the orphanage. That's not true. I slept in a room with twenty-seven beds, where you could work your way to the "honor" bed, if you behaved. And then you could work your- self into the other dormitory, which had only a few beds. I got to the honor bed once. But one morning I was late and was putting on my shoes when the matron said, "Come downstairs!" I tried to tell her I was tying my shoes, but she said, "Back to the twenty- seventh bed."
We'd get up at six in the morning, and we did our work before we went to the public school. We each had a bed, a chair, and a locker. Everything had to be very clean, perfect, because of inspection. For a while I cleaned the dormitory where I slept. Every day you moved the beds and you swept and then you dusted. The bathrooms were easier; there was less dust because of the cement floors. And I worked in the kitchen, washing dishes. There were a hundred of us, so I washed a hundred plates and all those spoons and forks.... We didn't have knives or glasses and we drank out of mugs. But in the kitchen you could earn money. We made five cents a month. They took apenny out for Sunday school, so that you had one penny left at the end of the month if there were four Sundays. We'd save that to buy a friend a little thing for Christmas. I can't say I was very happy there. I didn't get along very well with the matrons. But the superintendent was very nice. I remember one day she called me into her office and said, "You have
very fine skin, but it's always so shiny. Let me put a little powder on to see if it helps." I felt honored. She had a little dog, a Pekinese, who wasn't allowed to be around the children because he would bite them. But the dog was very friendly to me and I really loved dogs.... I was really very honored; I mean, I was walking on air. Later, I tried to run away with some of the other girls. But where to? We couldn't decide, we hadn't the slightest idea. We only got as far as the bump in the front lawn when we were caught. The only thing I said was, "Please don't tell the superintendent! "- because she'd made me smile and put powder on my nose and let me pet her dog. In the orphanage I began to stutter. The day they brought me there, after they pulled me in, crying and screaming, suddenly there I was in the large dining room with a hundred kids sitting there eating, at five o'clock, and they were all staring at me. So I stopped crying right away. Maybe that's a reason along with the rest: my mother and the idea of being an orphan. Anjway, I stuttered. That was the first time. Later on, in my teens, when I was at Van Knight High School, they elected me secretary of the English class, and every time I had to read the minutes I'd say, "Minutes of the last m-m-m- meeting." It was terrible. That went on for two years, I guess, until I was fifteen. Sometimes it even happens to me today if I'm very nervous or excited. Once when I had a small part in a movie, in a scene where I was supposed to go up the stairs, I forgot what was happening and the assistant director came and yelled at me, and I was so confused that when I got into the scene I stuttered. Then the director himself came up to me and said, "You don't stutter." And I said, "That's what you think." It was painful. And it still is if I speak very fast or have to make a speech. Terrible ...
[ silence ].
I stayed about a year and a half in the orphanage. We went to the public school. It's very had to have children from an institution like that go to a public school because the other kids point their fingers: "Oh, they're from the home, they're from the home." We were all ashamed to be from the orphans' home. In school I liked singing and English. I hated arithmetic. I never had my mind on it, you know? I was always dreaming in a window.
But I was good at sports. I was pretty tall. At the orphanage, the first day, they didn't believe me when I said I was nine years old. They thought I was fourteen. I was almost as tall as I am now - five feet six inches. But I was very, very thin until I was eleven. Then things changed. Suddenly, I wasn't in the orphanage anymore. I complained so bitterly to my guardian that she got me out. My guardian - Grace McKee. She'd been my mother's best
friend. She died eleven years ago. While she was my legal guardian she worked as a film editor at Columbia. But she was fired, and she married a man ten years younger than herself and he had three children. They were very poor, so they couldn't care for me. And I think she felt that her responsibility was to her husband, naturally, and to his kids. But she was always wonderful to me. Without her, who knows where I would have landed! I could have been put in a state orphanage and kept there till I was eighteen.
My orphanage was private, and Grace used to visit me and take me out. Not as often as they say, but she used to come and take me out sometimes and I could put on her lipstick. I was only nine then. She'd take me someplace to get my hair curled, which was unheard of because it wasn't allowed and because I had straight hair. Things like that meant a great deal to me. Besides, she was the one who got me out of that orphanage after I complained so much, as I said. Of course that meant a new "family." I remember one where I stayed for just three or four weeks. I remember them because the woman delivered things her husband made. She'd take me along and I'd get so carsick!
I don't know if they were paid for taking me in. I only know that after them I kept changing families. Some took me at the end of the school year and then they had enough after the vacation. But maybe that's what had been arranged. Then Los Angeles County took over my support. It was awful. I hated it. Even in the orphanage when I went to school, I tried not to look like an orphan. But now this woman would come around and say, "Now let's see, I think you need some shoes." And she would write it down: one pair of shoes. Then, "And does she have a sweater?" Or, "I think the poor girl needs two dresses, one for school and one for Sunday." Well, the sweaters were ugly, they were made of cotton, and the clothes all looked like they
were made of flour sacks ... terrible. And the shoes! I'd say,"I don't want them." I always tried to get clothes from grown-ups that would be altered for me. And I wore tennis shoes a lot. You could get them for ninety-eight cents. I must have looked pretty funny then - I was so tall, as I said, and I ate everything. I know because the families I lived with said they'd never seen a child who ate everything. I'd eat anything. I also know that I was very quiet, at least in front of adults. They used to call me "the mouse." I didn't say very much except to other children, and I had a lot of imagination. The
other kids liked to play with me because I could think of things. I'd say, "Now we're going to play murder ... or divorce." And they'd say, "How do you think of things like that?"
I was probably a lot different than the others. Kids usually refuse to go to bed, but I never did. Instead, I'd say,"I think 111 go to bed now." I loved the privacy of my room, my bed. I especially loved to act out every part of the last movie I'd seen. You know, standing on my bed, being even taller, I'd act out all the parts, the men as well as the women, and I'd work out what happened before or after. It was wonderful.... So was acting in school plays.
Once I played the part of a king and once the part of a prince- that's because I was so tall. I had a real happy time while I was growing up when I went to live with a woman I called "Aunt Anna." She was Grace McKee's mother. She was a lot older, she was sixty, I guess, or somewhere around there, but she always talked about when she was a girl of twenty. There was real contact between us because she understood me somehow. She knew what it
was like to be young. And I loved her dearly. I used to do the dishes in the evening and I'd always be singing and whistling, and she'd say, "I never heard a child sing so much." So I did it during that time. Aunt Anna ... I adored her. When I was fifteen, turning sixteen, Grace McKee arranged a marriage for me. There's not much to say about it. She and her husband wanted to move to West Virginia. In Los Angeles the county paid them twenty dollars a month for me. If I'd gone with them to West Virginia, they wouldn't have gotten that money, and since they couldn't support me they had to
work out something. In the state of California a girl can marry at sixteen. So I had the choice: go to a home till I was eighteen or get married. And so I got married.
His name was Dougherty. He was twenty-one at that time and worked in a factory. Then the war came and he was going to be drafted, but he went into the Merchant Marine, and I stayed with him for a while at Catalina, where he was a physical training instructor. Around the end of the war I went to Las Vegas to divorce him. I was twenty. He's a policeman now. During the war I worked in a factory. I was in what they called the "dope room"- I had to paint "dope" on the fabric used in making target planes. The work was very boring and life was pretty awful there. The other girls would talk about what they'd done the night before and what they were going to do the next weekend. I worked near where the paint sprayers were - nothing but men. They used to stop their work to write me notes. The work was so boring I worked very fast just to get it over with. They thought was doing
something wonderful. There was an assembly for the whole plant and the president of the plant called my name and gave me a gold medal and a twenty-five-dollar war bond for" exemplary willingness," as he put it. The other girls were furious when I got it and they'd bump into me and make me spill my can of dope when I'd go for a refill. Oh my goodness, they made life miserable. And then one day the Air Force wanted to take pictures of our factory. I'd just come back from my vacation when the office called me in. "Where have you been?" I nearly died and I said, "But I had permission for a vacation !"- which was true. They said, "It's not that. Do you want to pose for some pictures?" Well, the photographers came and took the pictures. They wanted to take more, outside the factory, but I didn't want to get in trouble - because I would have missed work - so I said, "Youll have to get permission." Which they got, so I worked as a model here and there for several days, holding things in my hand, pushing things around, pulling them ...
The pictures were developed at Eastman Kodak and the people there asked who the model was and one of the photographers - David Conover - came back and said to me, "You should become a model. You'd easily earn five dollars an hour." Five dollars an hour ! I was earning twenty dollars a week for ten hours a day and I had to stand all day on a concrete floor. Reason enough to give it a try. I started off slowly. The war was over, so I left
the factory and went to an agency. They took me on, for ads and calenders - not the one that caused so much trouble; well come to that - but others, where I was a brunette, then a redhead, then a blonde. And I really did earn five dollars an hour! And I was able to pursue one of my dreams. From time to time I took drama lessons, when I had enough money. They were expensive; I paid ten dollars an hour. I got to know a lot of people, people different from those I'd known, both good and bad. Sometimes when I was waiting for a bus a car would stop and the man at the wheel would roll down the window and say, "What are you doing here? You should be in pictures. "Then he'd ask me to drive home with him. I'd always say, "No, thank you. I'd rather take the bus." But all the same, the idea of the movies kept going through my mind. Once, I remember, I did accept an offer from a man I met like that - an offer to audition in a moviestudio. He must have been pretty persuasive. Anyhow, I went. It was on a Saturday and the place was deserted. I should have been suspicious, but I was still awfully naive. Well, the man led me into an office. We were alone. He held up a script and said there was a part in it, but he'd have to see. Then he told me to read the part and to pull up my dress. It was summer and I was wearing a bathing suit under my dress. But when he said, "Higher," I got scared and turned red and blurted out, "Only if I can keep my hat on!" That was stupid, of course, but I was really scared and desperate. I must have looked ridiculous, standing there holding on to my hat. Finally he got very mad. I was terribly frightened and ran away. I told the agency about this and they called the studio and other places to try to find this guy, but they didn't.
He must have had a friend or somebody who let him use his office. This incident frightened me so much that for a long time I was determined never to become an actress, after all. It was a difficult time in my life. I was living in rooms here and there - not in hotels, because they cost too much.
And then, as luck would have it, I was on the covers of five magazines in one month, and Fox called me up. And so I was waiting on those hard benches with lots of other people, all ages and sizes and everything. There was a long wait until Ben Lyon, the head of casting, came out of his office. He was hardly out when he pointed at me and said, "Who's this girl?" I was wearing a white cotton dress that Aunt Anna-I was living with her then for a little while - had washed and ironed for me. Everything had come up so suddenly that I couldn't do both - iron the dress and get myself ready- so she said, "111 do the dress, you just put on your makeup."
After that long wait, I felt beat, but Lyon was so nice. He said I looked so fresh and young and I don't know what all. He even said, "I've only discovered one other person - and that was Jean Harlow." Imagine that, my favorite actress!
They made a Technicolor test the next day, which was unusual because they should have had the director's permission. And then Fox put me under contract - a stock contract for a year.
But nothing came of it, and I never understood why. They hired a lot of girls and some boys, but they dropped them without ever giving them any chances. After they dropped me, I tried to see Mr. Zanuck, but that was impossible. They always told me he was in Sun Valley. I'd come back a week later and they'd say, "He's in Sun Valley, we're very sorry, he's very busy." After a while you just give up. And then, when I was hired back, after Asphalt Jungle, he said to me, "I understand you used to be here?" I said,"That's right." Well, things are a lot different now. And he said I had a three-dimensional quality, reminiscent of Harlow, which was interesting since Ben Lyon had been saying that. I owe a lot to Ben Lyon. He was the first to believe in me. He even gave me my name. One day we were looking for a stage name for me. I couldn't very well take my father's name, but I wanted at least some- thing that was related, so I said, "I want the name 'Monroe,'" which was my mother's maiden name. And so, since he always said I reminded him of Jean Harlow and Marilyn Miller, the great Broadway musical star, he said, "Well, Marilyn goes better with Monroe, so - Marilyn Monroe." And now I end up being Mariljai Monroe even on my marriage license!
But to get back to where I was ... I was pretty desperate. Fox dropped me and the same thing happened later at Columbia, even though it was a little different. They at least put me in a movie called Ladies of the Chorus. It was really dreadful. I was supposed to be the daughter of a burlesque dancer some guy from Boston falls in love with. It was a terrible story and terribly badly photographed - everything was awful about it. So they dropped me. But you learn from everything. saw no way out. It was the worst time for me. I lived in the Hollywood Studio Club and I couldn't stand it there. It reminded me of the orphanage. I was broke and behind in the rent. In the Studio Club they'd let you get about a week behind in the rent and then they'd write you, "You're the only one who doesn't support this wonderful institution." When you lived there, you'd get two meals a day-breakfast and dinner- and you had a roof over your head. Where else could I have gone? I had no family and I was really hungry. Of course, a lot of people said, "Why don't you go and get a job in a dimestore?" But I don't know; once I tried to get a job at Thrifty's and because I didn't have a high school education they wouldn't hire me. And it was different, really- being a model, trying to become an actress, and I should go into a dimestore? There are a lot of stories told about those calendar pictures. When the story came out, I'd already done Asphalt Jungle and was rehired at Fox with a seven-year contract. I still remember the publicity department calling me on the set and asking, "Did you pose for a calendar?" And I said, "Yes, anything wrong?" Well, they were real anxious and they said, "Don't say you did, say you didn't." I said, "But I did, and I signed the release, so I feel I should say so." They were very unhappy about that. And then the cameraman who was working on the film then got hold of one of the calendars and asked me if I'd sign it, and so I said yes, I would. I signed it and wrote " To ..."and then his name, and I said, "This isn't my best angle, you know." And of course the studio got even madder. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't lie. Sometimes I leave things out or I don't elaborate, to protect myself or other people - who probably don't even want to be protected - but I can never tell a lie. I was very hungry, four weeks behind in my rent, and needed money desperately. I remembered that I'd done some beer ads for Tom Kelley and his wife, Natalie, and that they had asked me to pose nude. They told me there was nothing to it and that I would earn a lot - fifty dollars, the amount I needed. Because they were both very nice to me I called them up and
asked Tom, "Are you sure they won't recognize me?" He said, "I promise." Then I said, "Well, if it's at night and you don't have any helpers ... you know how to put up the lights ... I don't want to expose myself to all the people you have." He said, "All right, just Natalie and me." So we did it. I felt shy about it, but they were real delicate, you know, about the whole situation. They just spread out some red velvet and had me lie down on it. And it was all very simple - and drafty! - and I was able to pay the rent and buy myself something to eat.
People are funny. They ask you a question and when you're honest, they're shocked. Someone once asked me, "What do you wear in bed? Pajama tops? Bottoms? Or a nightgown?" So I said, "Chanel Number Five." Because it's the truth. You know, I don't want to say"nude," but ... it's the truth.
There came the time when I began to - let's say, be known, and nobody could imagine what I did when I wasn't shooting, because they didn't see me at previews or premieres or parties. It's simple. I was going to school. I'd never finished high school, so I started going to UCLA at night, because during the day I had small parts in pictures. I took courses in the history of literature and the history of this country, and I started to read a lot, stories by wonderful writers. It was hard to get to the classes on time because I worked in the studio till six-thirty. And since I had to get up early to be ready for
shooting at nine o'clock, I was tired in the evening and sometimes I would fall asleep in the classroom. But I forced myself to sit up and listen. And I was really lucky to sit next to a Negro boy who was absolutely brilliant. He worked for the post office - now he's head of the Los Angeles Post Office. The professor, Mrs. Seay, didn't know who I was and found it odd that the boys from other classes often looked through the window during our class and whispered to one another. One day she asked about me and they said, "She's a movie actress." And she said, "Well, I'm very surprised. I thought she was a young girl just out of a convent." That was one of the nicest compliments I ever got.
But the people I just talked about- you know, they liked to see me as a starlet: sexy, frivolous, and dumb. I have a reputation of always being late. Well,
I don't think I'm late all the time. People just remember the times I come too late. Besides, I really don't think I can go as fast as other people. They get in their cars, they run into each other, they never stop. I don't think mankind was intended to be like machines. Besides, it's a great waste of time - you get more done doing it more sensibly, more leisurely. If I have to get to the studio to rush through the hairdo and the makeup and the clothes, I'm all worn out by the time I have to do a scene. When we did Let's Make Love, George Cukor thought it would be better to let me come in an hour late, so I'd
be fresher at the end of the day. I think actors in movies work too long hours anyway. I like to have time for the things I do. I think that we're rushing too much nowadays. That's why people are nervous and unhappy- with their lives and with themselves. How can you do anything perfect under such conditions? Perfection takes time.
I'd like very much to be a fine actress, a true actress. And I'd like to be happy, but who's happy? I think trying to be happy is almost as difficult as trying to be a good actress. You have to work at both of them.

GB: I suppose the portrait of Eleonora Duse on the wall is therefor some reason.

MM: Yes. I feel a lot for her because of her life and also because of her work. How shall I put it? She never settled for less, in either.
Personally, if I can realize certain things in my work, I come the closest to being happy. But it only happens in moments. I'm not just generally happy. If I'm generally anything, I guess I'm generally miserable. I don't separate my personal life from my professional one. I find that in working, the more personally I work the better I am professionally. My problem is that I drive myself, but I do want to be wonderful, you know? I know some people may laugh about that, but it's true. Once in New York my lawyer was telling me about my tax deductions and stuff and having the patience of an angel with me. I said to him, "I don't want to know about all this. I only want to be wonderful." But if you say that sort of thing to a lawyer, he thinks you're crazy.
There's a book by Rainer Maria Rilke that's helped me a lot: Letters to a Young Poet. Without it I'd probably think I was crazy sometimes. I think that when an artist - forgive me, but I do think I'm becoming an artist, even though some people willlaugh; that's why I apologize - when an artist tries to be true, you sometimes feel you're on the verge of some kind of craziness. But it isn't really craziness. You're just trying to get the truest part of your-
self out, and it's very hard, you know. There are times when you think, "All I have to be is true." But sometimes it doesn't come so easily. And sometimes it's very easy.
I always have this secret feeling that I'm really a fake or something, a phony. Everyone feels that way now and then, I guess. My teacher, Lee Strasberg, at the Actors Studio, often asks me, "Why do you feel that way about yourself? You're a human being." I answer, "Yes, I am, but I feel like I have to be more." "No," he says, "you have to start with yourself. What are you doing?" I said, "Well, I have to get into the part." He says, "No, you're
a human being so you start with yourself." "With me?" I shouted the first time he said that. "Yes, with you!"
I think Lee probably changed my life more than any other human being. That's why I love to go to the Actors Studio whenever I'm in New York. My one desire is to do my best, the best that I can from the moment the camera starts until it stops. That moment I want to be perfect, as perfect as I can make it. When I worked at the factory, I used to go to the movies on Saturday nights. That was the only time I could really enjoy myself, really relax, laugh, be myself. If the movie was bad, what a disappoiment ! The whole week I waited to go to the movies and I worked hard for the money it cost. If I thought that the people in the movie didn't do their best or were sloppy, I was really angry when I left because I didn't have much money to go on for the next week. So I always feel that I work for those people who work hard, who go to the box office and put down their money and want to be en-
tertained. I always feel I do it for them. I don't care so much about what the director thinks. I used to try to explain this to Mr. Zanuck... .
Love and work are the only things that really happen to us. Everything else doesn't really matter. I think that one without the other isn't so good - you need both. In the factory, though I worked so fast because it was boring, I used to take pride in doing my work really perfectly, as perfectly as I could.
And when I dreamed of love, then that was also something that had to be as perfect as possible. When I married Joe DiMaggio in 1954, he had already retired from baseball, but he was a wonderful athlete and had a very sensitive nature in many respects. His family were immigrants and he'd had a very difficult time when he was young. So he understood something about me, and I understood something about him, and we based our marriage on this. But jusf'something" isn't enough. Our marriage wasn't very happy, and it ended in nine months. My feelings are as important to me as my work. Probably that's why I'm so impetuous and exclusive. I like people, but when it comes to friends, I only like a few. And when I love, I'm so exclusive that I really have only one idea in my mind. Above all, I want to be treated as a human being.
When I met Arthur Miller the first time, it was on a set, and I was crying. I was playing in a picture called As Young As You Feel, and he and Elia Kazan came over to me. I was crying because a friend of mine had died. I was introduced to Arthur. That was in 1951. Everything was pretty bleary for me at that time. Then I didn't see him for about four years. We would correspond, and he sent me a list of books to read. I used to think that maybe he might see me in a movie - there often used to be two pictures playing at a time, and I thought I might be in the other movie and he'd see me. So I wanted to do my best. I don't know how to say it, but I was in love with him from the first moment. I'll never forget that one day he said I should act on the stage and how the people standing around laughed. But he said, "No, I'm very serious." And the way he said that, I could see he was a sensitive human being and treated me as a sensitive person, too. It's difficult to describe, but it's the most important thing. Since we've been married we lead - when I'm
not in Hollywood - a quiet and happy life in New York, and even more so on the weekends in our country house in Connecticut. My husband likes to start work very early in the morning. Usually he gets up at six o'clock. Then he stops and takes a nap later on in the day. Our apartment isn't very large, so I had his study soundproofed. He has to have complete quiet when he works. I get up about eight-thirty or so, and sometimes when I'm waiting for our breakfast to be ready- we have an excellent cook - I take my dog, Hugo, for a walk. But when the cook is out, I get up early and fix Arthur's breakfast because I think a man should never have to fix his own meals. I'm very old-fashioned that way. I also don't think a man should carry a woman's belongings, like her high-heeled shoes or her purse or whatever. I might hide something in his pocket, like a comb, but I don't think anything should be visible.
After breakfast. 111 take a bath, to make my days off different from my working days, when I get up at five or six in the morning and take a cold shower to wake me up. In New York I like to soak in the tub, read the New York Times, and listen to music. Then 111 get dressed in a skirt and a shirt and flat shoes and apolo coat and go to the Actors Studio - on Tuesdays and Fridays at eleven o'clock. On other days I go to Lee Strasberg's private
classes. Sometimes I come home for lunch, and I'm always free just before and during dinner for my husband. There's always music during dinner. We both like classical music. Or jazz, if it's good, but mostly we put it on when we have a party in the evening, and we dance. Arthur often goes back to work after his nap, and I always find things to do. He has two children from his first marriage, and I try to be a good stepmother. And there's a lot to do in the apartment. I like to cook - not in the city, where it's too busy, but in the country. I can make bread and noodles - you know, roll them up and dry them, and prepare a sauce. Those are my specialties. Sometimes I invent recipes. I love lots of seasonings. I love garlic, but sometimes it's too much for other people. Now and then the actors from the studio will come over and 111 give them breakfast or tea, and well study while we eat. So my days are pretty full. But the evenings are always free for my husband. After dinner we often go to the theater or to a movie, or we have friends in, or we visit friends. Often we just stay home, listen to music, talk, read. Or we go for a walk after dinner in Central Park, sometimes; we love to walk. We
don't have a set way of doing things. There are times when I would like to be more organized than I am, to do certain things at certain times. But my husband says at least it never gets dull. So it's all right. I'm not bored by things; I'm just bored by people who are bored. I like people, but sometimes I wonder how sociable I am. I can easily be alone and it doesn't bother me. I don't mind it - it's like a rest, it kind of refreshes my self. I think there are two things about human beings - at least, I think there are about me: they want to be alone and they also want to be together. I have a gay side to me and also a sad side. That's a real problem. I'm very sensitive to that. That's why I love my work. When I'm happy with it, I feel more sociable. If not, I like to be alone. And in my private life, it's the same way.

GB: If I asked you what does it feel like being Marilyn Monroe, at this stage in your life, what would you answer?

MM: Well, how does it feel being yourself?

GB: Sometimes I'm content with myself, at other times I'm dissatisfied.

MM: That's exactly how I feel. And are you happy?

GB: I think so.

MM: Well, I am too, and since I'm only thirty-four and have a few years to go yet, I hope to have time to become better and happier, professionally and in my personal life. That's my one ambition. Maybe I'll need a long time, because I'm slow. I don't want to say that it's the best method, but it's the only one I know and it gives me the feeling that in spite of everything life is not without hope.

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copyright text by GinieLand.

29 janvier 2011

1930s - Jean Harlow, la première blonde platine

 Jean Harlow
(1911 - 1937)

actrice américaine
L'idole de Marilyn

american actress
The Marilyn idol


 jean_1915_baby_2Jean Harlow, de son vrai nom Harlean Carpenter, naît le 3 mars 1911 à Kansas City, dans le Missouri. Elle est la fille unique d'un père dentiste, Montclair Carpenter, et d'une mère issue de la bonne société locale, qui s'appelle Jean Harlow. Harlean n'a que neuf ans quand ses parents divorcent et elle ne reverra dès lors que très peu son père. Harlean est alors recueillie par ses grands parents maternels et élevée dans les meilleurs écoles de la ville, tandis que sa mère, partie à Chicago sous prétexte d'y trouver un travail, y mène en réalité une joyeuse vie et ne tarde pas à se remarier avec un gigolo notoire, Marino Bello, un sicilien.

Jean Harlow, whose real name is Harlean Carpenter, was born on March 3, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the only daughter of a dentist father, Montclair Carpenter, and a mother from the good local society, named Jean Harlow. Harlean is only nine years old when her parents divorce and she would hardly ever see her father again. Harlean is then taken in by her maternal grandparents and raised in the best schools in the city, while her mother, who leaves for Chicago on the pretext of finding a job, actually leads a happy life there and soon remarries. with a notorious gigolo, Marino Bello, a Sicilian.

jean_et_sa_mere_2En 1926, sa mère (photo ci-contre) est de retour avec son nouveau mari qui désormais prend en charge l'éducation d'Harlean, âgée de quinze ans. En fait, il envoie la jeune fille en pension à Lake Forest, dans l'Illinois. Loin de sa famille, Harlean, seule et triste, se sent abandonnée. De retour à Kansas City, la beauté d'Harlean ne laisse personne indifférent: un teint de pêche, de grands yeux bleus, des cheveux d'un blond pâle naturellement bouclés, une liberté de ton et d'esprit qui la font exclure, en mars 1927, de la très sélecte école de Ferry Hall. Harlean, qui était alors âgée de 16 ans, avait fugué pour épouser à Chicago, l'un de ses chevaliers servants rencontré dans un bal, Charles F. Mac Grew, âgé de 21 ans. Le jeune homme, fils de banquier, était riche. Mais Harlean avait surtout trouvé là un moyen d'échapper à l'emprise de sa mère, trop protectrice et très religieuse. Cependant, sa mère parviendra à séparer les deux époux et Harlean divorcera l'année suivante.

In 1926, her mother (photo opposite) is back with her new husband who now supports the education of Harlean, aged fifteen. In fact, he sends the girl to boarding school in Lake Forest, Illinois. Far from her family, Harlean, alone and sad, feels abandoned. Back in Kansas City, Harlean's beauty leaves no one indifferent: a peachy skin, big blue eyes, naturally curly pale blond hair, a freedom of tone and spirit that makes her exclude, in March 1927, from the very select Ferry Hall school. Harlean, then 16 years old, has run away to marry in Chicago, one of her servant knights met at a ball, Charles F. Mac Grew, 21 years old. The young man, the son of a banker, is rich. But most of all, Harlean has found a way out of the grip of her mother, who is too protective and very religious. However, her mother will manage to separate the two spouses and Harlean will divorce the following year.

jean_1934_11_with_howard_hughes_1Ayant toujours autant de succès auprès de la gente masculine lorsqu'elle se ballade dans la rue, Harlean prend conscience de sa sensualité et, poussée par sa mère, elle part à Hollywood tenter sa chance bien qu'elle n'ait jamais prit de cours de comédie. Elle entre sur les plateaux de cinéma en faisant beaucoup de figurations (dont l'un des chefs d'oeuvres de Charles Chaplin "City Lights") jusqu'à ce qu'elle tourne la scène qui va la faire remarquer; c'est en 1929 dans une scène gag de "Double Whoopee" un film de et avec Laurel et Hardy, le duo comique le plus célèbre des Etats-Unis: une jeune fille blonde coince sa robe dans un taxi qui redémarre aussitôt et la belle se retrouve en combinaison noire sur le trottoir. Lors de la sortie du film, Olivier Hardy déclare qu' "elle n'a pas de soutien-gorge, c'est sa publicité". Du jour au lendemain, alors qu'elle n'a que 18 ans, elle devient célèbre sans tarder à changer de nom en prenant le nom de sa mère, Jean Harlow. Laurel et Hardy la recommandent à Arthur Landau, chargé de recruter une actrice pour le film d' Howard Hughes, Hell's Angels. Les journalistes ne retiennent pas son talent d'actrice mais le physique et la plastique de cette blonde platine attire les regards. Le film est un triomphe et Jean Harlow devient une star. Elle signe un contrat avec Howard Hughes (photo ci-contre), qui sera l'un de ses nombreux amants.

jean_1930_portrait_02_1 jean_1931_portrait_05_2 jean_1930s_portrait_fleur_1_1 

jean-double-whoopee Still having such success with men when she walks in the street, Harlean becomes aware of her sensuality and, pushed by her mother, she goes to Hollywood to try her luck although she has never taken theatre lessons. She enters in the world of cinema doing a lot of figurations (including one of Charles Chaplin's masterpieces "City Lights") until she shoots the scene that will get her noticed; it is in 1929 in a scene gag of "Double Whoopee" a film of and with Laurel and Hardy (photo opposite), the most famous comic duet of the United States: a young blonde girl wedges her dress in a taxi which restarts immediately and the beautiful blond is found in black overalls on the sidewalk. When the film comes out, Olivier Hardy declares that "she doesn't have a bra, that's her publicity". Overnight, although she is only 18, she quickly become famous by changing her name, by taking the name of her mother, Jean Harlow. Laurel and Hardy recommend her to Arthur Landau, who is in charge of recruiting an actress for Howard Hughes' film "Hell's Angels". The journalists do not retain her talent as an actress but the physique and the figure of this platinum blonde attracts attention. The film is a triumph and Jean Harlow becomes a star. She signs a contract with Howard Hughes, who will be one of her many lovers.

jean_1935_by_george_hurrell_3_2Engagée ensuite par la MGM, elle tourne beaucoup: The secret six (de George W. Hill), avec Clark Gable, The Public Enemy (de William Wellman) et Iron Man (de Tod Browning). Elle tourne ensuite Goldie (de Benjamin Stoloff) pour la Fox; puis Three Wise Girls (de William Beaudine) et Platinum Blond (de Frank Capra) pour la Columbia. Les critiques la descendent en flammes -la désignant de "tristement suffisante" ou encore en pointant sa voix qui ne plaît pas à ces journalistes- mais elle plaît au public qui lui fait un triomphe et se précipite pour voir ses films. Les hommes sont amoureux d'elle et les américaines sont nombreuses à copier sa coiffure: décoloration en blonde platine et cheveux crantés. Les mauvaises langues déclarent qu' "elle est le sexe incarné et rien ne se vend mieux !" et Jean d'en rajouter en portant des tenues légères, laissant entrevoir sa poitrine, lors des conférences de presse ou des premières de films. 

Under contract with MGM, she makes a lot of films: The secret six (by George W. Hill), with Clark Gable, The Public Enemy (by William Wellman) and Iron Man (by Tod Browning). She then shoots Goldie (by Benjamin Stoloff) for 20th Century Fox; then Three Wise Girls (by William Beaudine) and Platinum Blond (by Frank Capra) for Columbia. Critics brings her down in flames - designating her as "sadly sufficient" or even pointing to her voice which doesn't please these journalists - but she appeals to the public who makes her a triumph and rushes to see her films. Men are in love with her and many American women copy her hairstyle: platinum blonde discoloration and notched hair. Evil tongues declare that "she is sex embodied and nothing sells better !" and Jean to add some by wearing light clothes, revealing his chest, during press conferences or film premieres.

jean_et_paul_bern_wed_4Riche, célèbre, adulée, sa vie privée est pourtant un désastre. Sa mère et son gigolo de mari s'installent chez elle et lui soutirent tout son argent. De plus, Jean apprend qu'elle est stérile. Mais le pire est à venir: en 1931, elle rencontre le producteur Paul Bern (de la MGM), qui a 20 ans de plus que Jean. Le 2 juillet 1932, elle l'épouse (photo ci-contre) mais le soir du mariage, elle téléphone affolée à son agent Arthur Landau pour qu'il vienne la chercher. Il la retrouve en larmes, enveloppée dans un peignoir, couverte de bleus et de morsures, le dos ensanglanté. Son mari, impuissant, l'a sauvagement cravachée. On raconte qu'à la vue du petit sexe de son mari lors de cette nuit de noces, Jean se serait mise à rire, ce qui aurait provoqué la rage folle et incontrôlable de Bern. Soignée dans le plus grand secret, elle reprend tout de même la vie commune avec Bern jusqu'au 4 septembre 1932 où, nu devant le miroir, il se tire une balle dans la tête, laissant une lettre d'adieu en guise de note de suicide. Le scandale est énorme et Jean se console en multipliant les aventures, dont Bugsy Siegel, un parrain de la mafia de New York.

jean_et_paul_bern_11 jean_et_paul_suicide_note jean_enterrement_paulbern
à gauche: Jean et Paul Bern
au milieu: note de suicide de Paul Bern
à droite: Jean à l'enterrement de Paul Bern

jean_harlow-paul_bern Rich, famous, adored, her private life is a disaster. Her mother and her husband gigolo move in at her home and get all of her money. Moreover, Jean learns that she is sterile. But the worst is yet to come: in 1931, she meets producer Paul Bern (of MGM), who is 20 years older than Jean. On July 2, 1932, she married him (photo opposite) but on the evening of the wedding, she phones in panic to her agent Arthur Landau so that he could come and get her. He finds her in tears, wrapped in a bathrobe, covered with bruises and bites, her back bloodied. Her helpless husband brutally whippes her. It is said that at the sight of her husband's small penis on that wedding night, Jean would have laughed, which would have provoked Bern's mad and uncontrollable rage. Cared for in the greatest secrecy, she nevertheless resumes living together with Bern until September 4, 1932 when, naked in front of the mirror, he shoots himself in the head, leaving a farewell letter as a note of suicide. The scandal is enormous and Jean consoles herself by multiplying the adventures, including Bugsy Siegel, a godfather of the New York Mafia.

jean_et_harold_rosson_1933Elle tourne à nouveau avec Clark Gable dans Red Dust (de Victor Fleming) et Hold your hand (de Sam Wood), qui sont deux films où sa performance sera enfin saluée par la critique. Lors du tournage de Dinner at eight (de George Cukor) en 1933, elle fait la connaissance de Harold Rosson, un caméraman (photo ci-contre). Ils se marient en secret mais divorceront l'année suivante. En 1935, elle tombe amoureuse de son partenaire dans Reckless, l'acteur William Powell. Elle retrouve à nouveau Clark Gable pour China Seas (de Tay Garnett), Wife vs secretary (de Clarence Brown) et Saratoga (de Jack Conway) qui sera son dernier film.

She makes again a movie with Clark Gable in Red Dust (by Victor Fleming) and Hold your hand (by Sam Wood), which are two films where her performance will finally be acclaimed by critics. During the filming of Dinner at Eight (by George Cukor) in 1933, she met Harold Rosson, a cameraman (photo opposite). They marry in secret but will divorce the following year. In 1935, she fell in love with her partner in Reckless, actor William Powell. She meets again Clark Gable for China Seas (by Tay Garnett), Wife vs secretary (by Clarence Brown) and Saratoga (by Jack Conway) which will be her last film.

 jean_1936_by_ted_allan_01_1En janvier 1937, lors de la fin du tournage de Personal Property (de WS Van Dyck), Jean attrape la grippe qui la force à prendre du repos mais elle refuse tout traitement, d'autant plus qu'un nouveau tournage l'attend, celui de Saratoga. La maladie qui va l'emporter commence à faire des ravages sur sa santé et touche peu à peu ses fonctions rénales: elle souffre horriblement, allant même jusqu'à se faire arracher les dents qui lui font souffrir. Il se pourrait que ses reins étaient affaiblis suite aux coups que lui avaient portés violemment Paul Bern, son second époux. La souffrance est tellement insupportable, qu'elle doit faire des pauses toutes les 10 minutes sur le tournage et un soir, elle s'évanouit dans les bras de Clark Gable. Le tournage est suspendu et Jean part se reposer auprès de sa mère qui, devenue scientiste, exerce une tyrannie sans faille, refusant tout soins médicaux à sa fille prétextant que la prise de médicaments est un pêché et que le seul remède est la prière. Jean, à bout de force, n'a plus aucun contact avec l'extérieur: sa mère la garde en effet enfermée dans sa chambre, ne laissant personne entrer dans la maison. Clark Gable prévoit d'enlever Jean; c'est finalement son agent, Arthur Landau et des médecins qui l'enlèvent de force, pour la faire hospitaliser.

Jean_Harlow_and_mother_1934 In January 1937, at the end of the shooting of Personal Property (by WS Van Dyck), Jean catches the flu which forces her to take rest but she refuses any treatment, especially as a new shoot awaits her, that of Saratoga. The disease that will take her begins to wreak havoc on her health and gradually affects her kidney functions: she suffers horribly, even going so far as to have her teeth pulled out, which makes her suffer. It could be that his kidneys were weakened from the beating violently inflicted on her by Paul Bern, her second husband. The suffering is so unbearable that she has to take breaks every 10 minutes on the set and one evening she passes out in Clark Gable's arms. The shooting is suspended and Jean leaves to rest with her mother who, now a scientist, exercises an unfailing tyranny, refusing all medical care to her daughter on the pretext that taking medication is a sin and that the only remedy is prayer. Jean, at the end of his strength, no longer has any contact with the outside world: her mother keeps her locked in her room, not allowing anyone to enter the house. Clark Gable plans to kidnap Jean; it is finally her agent, Arthur Landau and doctors who remove her by force, to have her hospitalized.

1937_06_09_funerailles_jean_harlow_1Mais il est trop tard et Jean Harlow décède d'une crise d'urémie le le 7 juin 1937. Une doublure sera engagée et filmée de dos pour terminer le film. Ses obsèques seront suivies par des centaines de personnes et tous ceux qui l'ont connu auront un immense chagrin, déclarant que Jean était une personne gentille et généreuse. Jean Harlow avait 26 ans elle est morte de ne pas s'être soignée. Sa mère ne se sentira jamais responsable, elle inaugurera un musée sur sa fille et dilapidera la fortune de son "bébé" chéri.

But it is too late and Jean Harlow dies of a uremic attack on June 7, 1937. A stand-in and body double will be engaged and filmed from behind to finish the film. Her funeral will be attended by hundreds of people and everyone who knew her will be grieved, declaring that Jean was a kind and generous person. Jean Harlow was 26 years old and died from not being treated. Her mother will never feel responsible, she will inaugurate a museum on her daughter and squander the fortune of her darling "baby".

>> Voir l'album photos Jean Harlow

En 1965, deux films biopics sur la vie de Jean Harlow verront le jour:
In 1965, two biopics films on the life of Jean Harlow will be released:

Harlow de Alex Seagel
avec Carol Lynley (dans le rôle de Jean Harlow)
et Betty Grable (dans celui de la mère)
harlow_carol_lynley_film_aff_1 harlow_carol_lynley_film_aff_2 harlow_carol_lynley_film_scene_1

Harlow, la blonde platine, de Gordon Douglas,
avec Carroll Baker (Jean Harlow),
Raf Vallone, Peter Lawford
(le blog: voir l'article sur Carroll Baker )
harlow_carroll_baker_film_aff_3 harlow_carroll_baker_film_publicity_06_3c harlow_carroll_baker_film_publicity_07_1

>> Jean vs Marilyn <<


marilyn_en_jeanEnfant, la petite Norma Jeane Baker (future Marilyn Monroe) était fascinée par Jean Harlow, s'amusant souvent à mettre ses mains dans les empreintes de Jean sur les trottoirs d' Hollywood. Devenue célèbre, Marilyn prévoyait tourner dans le film biopic consacré à son idole et aurait même rencontrer la mère de Jean Harlow. Elle parvint tout de même à se mettre dans la peau de Jean, le temps d'une séance photo de Richard Avedon en 1958 (voir la séance photos sur le blog). On remarque beaucoup de similitudes entre les vies des deux actrices, mais aussi sur certaines photographies, dans leurs attitudes, leurs poses, leurs mimiques. La presse magazine s'amusait à l'époque à comparer Marilyn à Jean Harlow (comme Focus ou encore Pin-Ups ). Voici un petit florilège d'anecdotes et de photos de ce comparatif Marilyn VS Jean.

As a child, little Norma Jeane Baker (future Marilyn Monroe) was fascinated by Jean Harlow, often having fun putting her hands in Jean's prints on the sidewalks of Hollywood. Becoming famous, Marilyn planned to shoot in the biopic film devoted to her idol and would even meet Jean Harlow's mother. She still managed to put herself in Jean's figure, the time of a photo shoot by Richard Avedon in 1958 (see the photoshoot on the blog). We notice a lot of similarities between the lives of the two actresses, but also in certain photographs, in their attitudes, their poses, their mimicry. The magazine press was amused at the time by comparing Marilyn to Jean Harlow (like Focus or Pin-Ups). Here is a small anthology of anecdotes and photos of this Marilyn VS Jean comparison.

mmlook_Jean_harlow_12 mmlook_Jean_harlow_11 mmlook_Jean_harlow_10 

Le père: Jean Harlow avait neuf ans quand ses parents ont divorcé et dès lors, elle n'a que très peu revu son père. Quand à Marilyn, elle n'a jamais connu son père. Devenues adultes, les deux femmes chercheront dans leur relation avec les hommes, l'image du père. Jean nommera William Powell "Poppy" qui en retour, l'appelera "Baby"; Marilyn appellera Arthur Miller "Daddy".

The father: Jean Harlow was nine years old when her parents divorced and since then she saw her father very little. As for Marilyn, she never knew her father. As adults, the two women will seek in their relationship with men, the image of the father. Jean will name William Powell "Poppy" who in return will call her "Baby"; Marilyn will call Arthur Miller "Daddy".


Premier mariage à 16 ans pour Jean comme pour Marilyn. Elles se sont mariées trois fois et ont divorcé pour chacune de leur union.
First marriage at 16 for Jean as for Marilyn. They married three times and divorced for each of their union.

mmlook_Jean_harlow_03 mmlook_Jean_harlow_05

L'adoption: stérile, Jean avait le projet d'adopter un jour un enfant. Tout comme Marilyn qui a rencontré de nombreuses difficultés à avoir un bébé, avait visité un orphelinat l'année de sa mort.
Adoption: sterile, Jean had the project to adopt a child one day. Just like Marilyn who encountered many difficulties in having a baby, had visited an orphanage the year of her death.


Sex-appeal: leurs tenues choquaient certaines âmes prudentes et bien pensantes de l'Amérique puritaine, et elles ne portaient pas de sous vêtement sous leurs robes. Les critiques ne furent pas toujours élogieuses concernant leur talent.
Sex appeal: Their outfits shocked some cautious and well-meaning souls of Puritan America, and they wore no undergarments under their dresses. Reviews weren't always positive about their talent.

mmlook_Jean_harlow_07 mmlook_Jean_harlow_08

Howard Hughes: il engagea Jean Harlow dans son film Hell's Angels en 1930 qui a lancé sa carrière; il aurait aimé engagé Norma Jeane après avoir vu une photo d'elle dans un magazine pendant sa convalescence à l'hôpital en 1946.
Howard Hughes: he hired Jean Harlow in his film Hell's Angels in 1930 which launched his career; He would have liked to hire Norma Jeane after seeing a photo of her in a magazine while recovering in hospital in 1946.


Ben Lyon: il fut l'acteur partenaire de Jean Harlow dans Hell's Angels en 1930; Devenu cadre à la Fox, il fit passer les premiers bouts d'essais à Norma Jeane en 1946.
Ben Lyon: he was the partner actor of Jean Harlow in Hell's Angels in 1930; Becoming an executive at Fox, he gave the first bits of testing to Norma Jeane in 1946.

mmlook_Jean_harlow_13_1 mmlook_Jean_harlow_13_2

Clark Gable: il fut le partenaire de nombreux films avec Jean Harlow et surtout dans son dernier film Saratoga; il fut le partenaire du dernier film achevé de Marilyn, The Misfits.
Clark Gable: he was the partner of many films with Jean Harlow and especially in his last film Saratoga; he was the partner of Marilyn's last completed film, The Misfits.


George Cukor: il dirigea Jean Harlow dans Dinner at eight en 1933; il dirigea Marilyn dans Let's make love (1960) et Something's got to give (1962).
George Cukor: he directed Jean Harlow in Dinner at eight in 1933; he directed Marilyn in Let's make love (1960) and Something's got to give (1962).

mmlook_Jean_harlow_17 mmlook_Jean_harlow_18

William Powell: partenaire (et dernier amour) de Jean dans Reckless et Libeled Lady; partenaire de Marilyn dans How to marry a Millionnaire.
William Powell: partner (and last love) of Jean in Reckless and Libeled Lady; partner of Marilyn in How to marry a Millionnaire.


Cary Grant: partenaire de Jean dans Suzy; partenaire de Marilyn dans Monkey Business.
Cary Grant: Jean's partner in Suzy; Marilyn's partner in Monkey Business.

mmlook_Jean_harlow_04 mmlook_Jean_harlow_06 mmlook_Jean_harlow_15

Une mort prématurée: Jean est décédée à l'âge de 26 ans et Marilyn à 36 ans, laissant le tournage de leur dernier film inachevé (terminé par une doublure pour Jean). William Powell, comme Joe DiMaggio, faisait fleurir chaque semaine les tombes de leurs amours perdus.
An untimely death: Jean died at the age of 26 and Marilyn at 36, leaving the shooting of their last film unfinished (ended with a body double for Jean). William Powell, like Joe DiMaggio, made the graves of their lost loves bloom every week.


>> Sources web:
jean_1930s_portrait_entier_01_1-biographie de Jean Harlow sur
-le site officiel sur jeanharlow.com 
-site de fan sur classic movie favorites
-site de fan sur Platinum Page
-blog Platinum Blog
-le film Harlow sur imd
-le film Harlow, la blonde platine sur imdb
-blog myspace
Jean the queen
-photos créditées sur
-photos HQ sur
-photos sur
 The Fashion Spot    
-galleries photos sur

 © All images are copyright and protected by their respective owners, assignees or others.
copyright text by GinieLand.

14 février 2010

1950 Marilyn par Anthony Beauchamp

Marilyn Monroe à la fin de l'année 1950
photographiée par Anthony Beauchamp

> de gauche à droite:
Sarah Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Sally Cooper et Charles Laughton

1950_Anthony_Beauchamp_Marilyn_with_Models_1_1 1950_Anthony_Beauchamp_Marilyn_with_Models_1_2

> Chez Ben Lyon, dans sa villa de Santa Monica

Posté par ginieland à 00:59 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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